Rate Your Happiness
Rate Your Happiness: Are You Happy?
Do you think it’s possible to rate your happiness? Do we need to sit a happiness test to see just how happy we? We think it wouldn’t hurt. Research indicates far too many managers are unhappy.
Short of time; over-worked; over-stressed; under-valued; under-productive; living lives out of balance; plagued by busyness whilst trying to run a business.
How many of us eventually begin to wonder why we became managers in the first place? Or where we’re going? Or how we can change things?
How many of us are truly happy managers?
Well hopefully you’ll find plenty here to help answer these and numerous other questions, but let’s start at the beginning. Any managers aspiring to create happy, productive workplaces, must attend to their own happiness first.
Compare this advice with the ubiquitous safety instructions passengers are given at the beginning of every flight:
“In the event of cabin de-pressurisation, your oxygen mask will drop from the compartment above. Passengers travelling with children are advised to put on their own masks first.”
You don’t need to be a parent to know that this advice, though probably difficult to follow, is nonetheless based on very sound logic:
If you don’t look after yourself first, how can you help anybody else?
Use this page to rate your happiness, a key first step to becoming a happy manager.
Rate Your Happiness: R U Happy?
The first step is to rate your own levels of happiness and we think the best place to start is with the work done by Edward Diener and Martin Seligman. Diener, dubbed “Dr Happiness” by the press, is a pioneer of happiness research. His “Satisfaction With Life Survey”, though not a happiness test as such, has proved both popular and successful. In Professor Diener’s own words, it has “shown to be a valid and reliable measure of life satisfaction, suited for use with a wide range of age groups and applications…”
Some critics claim it is too subjective and “simply a momentary judgement based on fleeting influences”. However Diener has demonstrated, over a long period, that results of these subjective tests are supported by peer observation of the respondents. Evidence that even subjective, memory-based responses are valid.
Dr Seligman (right), director of the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center, is another thought leader in the field of happiness research. A pioneer in the development of this relatively new branch of psychology, his work proves that positive thoughts and actions can help us lead happier lives.
Positive psychology, according to Seligman’s website, “focuses on the empirical study of such things as positive emotions, strengths-based character, and healthy institutions.” His book: Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realise Your Potential for Lasting Fulfilment, is an essential read for any student of happiness. As a key aim of the Happy Manager is to help managers make the workplace a happier place, we think this is the best place to begin.
Rate Your Happiness: Where To Start?
We’ll be looking at the other tests elsewhere but for the time being we recommend you take:After reading this section, visit Seligman’s site for “Authentic Happiness”, by clicking the link below. You’ll need to register, but that’s quick, easy, safe and well worth the effort.
By all means explore the site but be sure to click on the Test Centre page to view the range of tests available. There are numerous to choose from, categorised into tests relating to emotion, engagement, meaning and life satisfaction.
This broadly relates to Seligman’s view that happiness and life satisfaction are achieved by attaining a balance between the pursuit of pleasure, engagement in relationships, and living a life of meaning or significance.
- Diener’s “Satisfaction With Life Scale”
- The “General Happiness Scale” – a specific happiness test, which measures your enduring or overall happiness
- Fordyce’s “Emotions Questionnaire” – to measure how happy or unhappy you currently feel
- The “Work Life Questionnaire” – measuring our overall job satisfaction plus an indication of whether we consider it a job, a career or a calling
- The “VIA Signature Strengths” Questionnaire – measuring and rating 24 character strengths. Although this is quite a long test, we don’t recommend you take the shorter “Brief Strengths Test” as the information gathered is well worth the extra effort. Especially if you relate it to our pages on Strength Based Management
Rate Your Happiness: What To Do Next?
Now, go to Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness and take our recommended tests. Once you’ve done this you can access your test scores any time through the Authentic Happiness Test Centre. The site provides a brief summary of your results, comparing you with various population groups, including: all web users; your gender; age group; occupation group; education level; and post/zip code. With the exception of Diener’s test, interpretation of the results is quite limited unless you purchase Seligman’s Authentic Happiness book. A useful interpretation of the signature strength categories (beyond strengths) is also available at Jonathan Haidt’s Happiness Hypothesis website, but more of his excellent book: Happiness Hypothesis: Putting Ancient Wisdom to the Test of Modern Science, elsewhere.
As an individual, you might be thinking:The results of the first four happiness tests are a useful way to rate your happiness, and your feelings about your current work situation.
The results of the last test are an excellent summary of your own strengths. Look carefully at these results and think about how much they reflect the reality of your life. Then begin thinking about answers to the questions we’re sure you’re already starting to ask yourself.
- How can I lead a happier life?
- How can I get more out of my job?
- Am I in the right job?
- How can I use my signature strengths to contribute to each of these?
As a manager, you’re hopefully thinking
- How can I create the conditions where my colleagues are happier?
- Are my staff using their strengths to their and the organisation’s best advantage?
- How can I help make my organisation a “healthier institution”?
And After You Rate Your Happiness…
The task now is to think about how you can improve your general happiness, for the benefit of yourself and of the people you manage. Now that the authentic happiness test has enabled you to rate your happiness, you can come back periodically to check for improvement. An improvement you’ll no doubt see after implementing the Happy Manager Action plan. Which is our next recommendation.