On a Monday morning, do you dread the coming work week or do you look forward to the possibilities it may bring you at work? One thing that can make a difference to your choice is how happy you feel. In other words, it is about changing your attitude to your colleagues, to the work at hand, and even towards your management. Happiness is contagious, a definite game changer, says Priya Kumar, motivational speaker, corporate trainer and CEO of Priya Kumar’s Training Systems (PKTS). Kumar’s first book, I Am Another YOU—A Journey to Powerful Breakthroughs, was released in Delhi recently. Edited excerpts from an interview:
Fear factor: Kumar sometimes makes workshop participants walk on fire.
You take a different approach to connect to participants during your training workshops.
My workshops are essentially fun. If there is no fun in what you are made to do, I believe it is very difficult for people to shed their inhibitions. At the end of my sessions, I see a distinct change in the participants and their perceptions. People come with preconceived notions and, therefore, it is necessary that you shake them out of them.
And that involves activities such as bending steel rods?
That’s true. I make my participants hold the two ends of a steel rod between their necks and when they embrace each other, it bends. The whole point is that if you really want to reach out to anybody, you can do anything. Even if there is a steel rod between you. The other way of looking at it is that you can reach out to anybody, even if you have a steel rod between you. I believe that you can bend reality, bend distances and reach out to anybody you want. All you need to have is a willingness to do it. When you are hugging a person, there is a moment of awkwardness in the beginning. But once you do it, you realize how easy it was to hug people.
How do you translate this to productivity at your workplace?
I believe that if you want to get results at your workplace, it is important that you are happy. Happiness is the byproduct of the activities I conduct. There is bonding among your people if they are happy. Sadly, organizations fail to realize the importance of happy people. Everybody is just interested only in results. Our businesses are living in denial. They think that if they can ignore something, in this case employee happiness, for long enough, the problem would cease to exist.
So a happy worker is a good worker?
My agenda is not to make people good human beings. A happy employee is an effective employee. That means you should be good enough to deliver results at your workplace. The trouble is that very few organizations in India are willing to invest in their employees. I believe that your
people will deliver only if they are happy.
But how do you justify engaging participants in activities such as walking barefoot on broken glass or even fire? What does that have to do with productivity?
The biggest problem in our workplaces is that people are not willing to play roles. We are not willing to hold hands. If somebody is giving you a hard time in the office, that does not mean he is essentially a bad guy. He is simply playing a role defined by the company.
What all of us need to understand is that if the management is asking you to do something, it obviously can be done. You need to keep it in mind that the ifs and buts have already been discussed before you are asked to do it. What affects our workplaces today is that most of us have unnecessary preoccupations on our minds. It is wrong to think that your boss doesn’t understand you. Definitely they do. But can you believe in them and do what you have been asked to do?
It is all a question of overcoming your fears. Remember, there is always a team. The day you start doubting the integrity or the intentions of your teammate, you are causing harm to your team.