How to nurture accomplishment in the workplace

Experiencing positive emotions has been found to improve creativity crucial for achieving goals. In the final part of her wellbeing series, psychologist and CEO of The Positive Institute, Suzy Green, will take a look at the role accomplishment plays in our wellbeing.

Using the the PERMA Model of wellbeing, positive emotions, engagement, relationships and meaning have found to be crucial in creating and sustaining psychological wellbeing. And the good news is that all of these components alone or together can also positively impact achievement.

In the workforce today, there are a lot of people striving for the same goals, which brings a need to be competitive. We often find that this pressure to succeed –= to accomplish – can lead to lowered levels of wellbeing. As such, working hard to achieve goals and desires can actually actively undermine our wellbeing. In fact, in some situations, like studying for a further qualification or in reaching a tough deadline on a major project, this striving for success can lead to increased levels of stress and in some cases anxiety disorders.

So how does your team experience positive accomplishments? Discover below the types of goals and motivations that create high levels of wellbeing – along with those to watch out for, which can lead towards lower levels of wellbeing.

Goal-setting and wellbeing

Setting goals, whether they are personal or work related, is an effective way to fuel ambition. However, we often find people have good intentions when it comes to goals but lack follow through.
So what are goals? Goals are technically defined as “the internal representations of desired end states” so in layman terms that simply means that they are our dreams and desires for the future. So we all have goals! It’s just whether we make them explicit or not. Do you write down your goals and share your goals with others? If you’re like me you’ll set specific goals at the beginning of every year, or at the start of every project whereas others prefer to keep their goals more as broad intentions or guiding lights.

Goals that are SMART have a greater chance of success. That means specific (rather than vague), measurable (how are we going to track our progress), authentic (they’re your goals not anyone else's!), realistic (they can be achieved within the time frame) and time-limited (we work best to deadlines).

Keep in mind, not all goals are equal. This highlights the important role of the “A” in SMART goals. When goals are authentic, that means goals that we have freely chosen and are pursuing because they’re important to us or fun, we’re more likely to achieve them and we’re more likely to experience wellbeing as an outcome. When it comes to your annual goal setting at work, use the SMART acronym to set you, your business and your team up for positive accomplishment.

Set short term SMART goals aligned to your vision or mission

Most businesses invest time in developing their values, vision and mission. Of course, these should be revisited regularly to help remind your team of the what and why of the business. It’s equally important that when your team set shorter term performance or development goals there’s alignment to the businesses values, vision and mission. This helps individuals (and teams) stay motivated and energised to work on their goals knowing there is a greater purpose – this also helps build meaning which we know is essential to wellbeing at work.

Implement a plan

When we’re specific about how we’re going to enact our goals, we’re more likely to achieve them. This means if you’re working on increasing your levels of delegation or improving your teamwork skills, you’ll need to identify what specific situations you’re going to do this in (the what and where). It can also be really helpful and powerful to consider engaging a coach to help you stick to your goals. A professional coach is considered a perk in small businesses but it’s definitely a good investment that could pay off big time.

Celebrate success

There is a powerful method developed by Dr Gabriele Oettingen called WOOP that has been proven to help people accomplish their goals. WOOP stays for Wish (your goals), Outcome (the best outcome from achieving our goals), Obstacles (what could prevent you from achieving your goals) and Plan (what could I do if obstacles occur?)

While the WOO part is fairly simple, it’s the P that can pack the biggest punch! This plan is not any kind of plan. A WOOP plan has a specific formula:

“If [obstacle], then I will [effective action].”

This formula ensures that your plan is directly linked to the obstacle. Once you create a plan, you should repeat it aloud and imagine it vividly.

As a business owner, wellbeing should be a priority for you and your team. Remember, it’s more than a monthly massage, it’s a daily commitment to ritualising wellbeing strategies in your workplace that create PERMA – positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and positive accomplishment.

Dr Suzy Green

Dr Suzy Green is a Clinical and Coaching Psychologist (MAPS) and Founder of The Positivity Institute, a positively deviant organisation dedicated to the research and application of Positive Psychology for life, school and work.
Suzy is a leader in the complementary fields of Coaching Psychology and Positive Psychology, having conducted a world-first study on evidence-based coaching as an Applied Positive Psychology. Suzy was the recipient of an International Positive Psychology Fellowship Award and has published in the Journal of Positive Psychology. Suzy lectured on Applied Positive Psychology as a Senior Adjunct Lecturer in the Coaching Psychology Unit, University of Sydney for ten years and is an Honorary Vice President of the International Society for Coaching Psychology.