Mastering the importance of control at work and home as one of the core pillars of positivity.
Feeling that we are in control, that we are masters of our own fate at work and at home, is one of the strongest drivers of both well-being and performance.
A 2002 study of nearly 3000 wage and salaried employees for the National Study of the Changing Workforce found that greater feelings of control at work predicted greater satisfaction in nearly every aspect of life: family, job, relationships, etc. People who felt in control at work, also had lower levels of stress, work-family conflicts and job turnover.
Interestingly, psychologists have found that these kinds of gains in productivity, happiness, and health have less to do with how much control we actually have and more with how much control we “think” we have.
The world is shaped largely by our mindset.
The most successful people, in work and in life, are those who have what psychologists call an “internal locus of control”, the belief that their actions have a direct effect on their outcomes. People with an external locus, on the other hand, are more likely to see daily events as dictated by external forces.
Believing that, for the most part, our actions determine our fates in life can only spur us to work harder; and when we see this hard work pay off, our belief in ourselves only grows stronger.
This is true in nearly every domain in life. Research has shown that people who believe that the power lies within their circle have higher academic achievement, greater career achievement, and are much happier at work.
Because feeling in control over our jobs and our lives reduces stress, it even affects our physical health. One study of 7400 employees found that those who felt they had little control over deadlines imposed by other people had a 50% higher risk of coronary heart disease than their counterparts. In fact this effect was so staggering, researchers concluded that feeling a lack of control over pressure at work is “as great” a risk factor for heart disease as even high blood pressure.
“Emotional Intelligence” Daniel Goleman
When small stresses pile up over time, as they so often do in the workplace, it only takes a minor annoyance or irritation to lose control; in other words, to let the part of our brain that reacts with emotion take over. When this “emotional hijacking” occurs we might lash out at a colleague, friend, family member or start to feel helpless and overwhelmed or suddenly lose all energy and motivation.
As a result our decision-making skills, productivity, and effectiveness plummet. This can have real consequences not just for individuals, but for entire teams of organizations.
At one large company, researchers found that managers who felt the most swamped by job pressure ran teams with the worst performance and the lowest net profits.
A failing economy can be a powerful trigger for emotional hijacking too.
Neuroscientists have found that financial losses are processed in the same areas of brain that respond to mortal danger. – When our brain hits the panic button, reason goes out the window and our wallets, our careers, and our bottom lines suffer.
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