How Happy Is Your Team Member?

A Quiz to Help Well-Being, Productivity and Retention

How Happy Is Your Team Member?  - A Quiz to Help Well-Being, Productivity and Retention

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Is she jumping for joy, or heading for a fall?

It's important that all of your people are happy and satisfied in their jobs. They'll likely be more creative, productive and ambitious, and they'll work together better. Happy team members will also want to stay! But how well do you understand what's going on in your team – can you be sure that negativity isn't brewing in the background?

Unhappy employees may dislike being at work, and you'll find managing them more difficult. Poor punctuality, high turnover, and absenteeism could become a problem, which would cost your organization dearly.

This quiz will help you tease out issues, person by person, so you can deal with them promptly and effectively. You'll also be able to spot trends across the team.

A Team of Many Parts

Work through this quiz as many times as you have team members, thinking about just one of them each time. For each statement, click the button in the column that best describes him or her. Try to answer questions as you really see them rather than how you think you should, and don't worry if some questions seem to score in the "wrong direction." When you are finished, click the "Calculate My Total" button at the bottom of the test, and take a look at the advice and links that follow.

Your last quiz results are shown.

You last completed this quiz on , at .

18 Statements to Answer

Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always
1 He or she contributes nothing to team meetings.
2 He approaches me unprompted to share his opinions.
3 She doesn't put her hand up for training to develop a new skill.
4 He doesn’t smile.
5 Her work matches the organization's values and mission.
6 He goes beyond the responsibilities on his job description.
7 I celebrate her good work.
8 He attends team social events.
9 She shows no interest in career advancement.
10 He expresses anger or frustration.
11 She gets on well with her colleagues.
12 His work is creative.
13 She is late.
14 Senior colleagues are accessible and will listen to him.
15 She is keen to enter industry or organization awards when they come up.
16 His productivity is lower than expected.
17 She sits by herself.
18 He shows little motivation.
Total = 0

Score Interpretation

Score Comment

It is likely this team member is unhappy at work, with little to satisfy him, but plenty to dissatisfy. His work output is minimal and its quality is poor – when he actually turns up! It might not be long before he leaves. The cause might be poor relationships with his colleagues, his attitude to his work, or his inability to look at the wider context of what he is doing. But there are plenty of tools to help you turn the situation around. (Read below to start.)


Your team member is not at her most happy but you can glimpse some positivity. Have a look through your answers more closely to pinpoint where she scored lowest. Focus your energy here and you'll likely see a rapid improvement in her well-being and productivity. (Read below to start.)


Great! Your team member appears to be happy at work. He's a great team player but is also engaged enough in his own work to get on well by himself, too. His quantity and quality of work is high, and he has a strong sense of the wider context and meaning for his role. But don't be complacent. Keep working with him to help maintain his motivation and to ensure you don't lose him. This is particularly important if he's actually masking unhappiness and putting all his energies into work. He'll need your support to keep going. (Read below to start.)

We based our questions on Martin Seligman's PERMA model, which has five essential elements to experiencing long-lasting happiness:

  1. Positive emotions.
  2. Engagement.
  3. Positive relationships.
  4. Meaning.
  5. Accomplishment/Achievement.

The idea is that, the more your people display these five features, the happier they're likely to be. So let's look at these elements in detail, and see how they relate to the quiz and to your team member.

Positive Emotions

(Questions 4, 10, 13, 18)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

You'll likely associate this characteristic with happiness the most easily. Feelings such as energy, pleasure, hope, and contentment are essential for our well-being. So if your team member is having trouble smiling, or controlling his anger, or seems lethargic, then it is likely that he is unhappy. 

Why is this important? Barbara Fredrickson's Broaden and Build theory says that positive emotions at work strengthen team bonds, improve morale, boost productivity, and encourage innovation, among other things.

But what can you do about it? Start by using Frederick Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene theory to work through the factors that can cause job dissatisfaction. Then look at those characteristics essential for job satisfaction that should, in turn, result in more positive emotions.

Work genuine praise into your interactions. The Losada Ratio says that we should try to balance one piece of negative feedback with three pieces of positive, to prevent a colleague feeling dejected. This model's statistical basis is questionable, but it's certain that saying "thank you" will show your appreciation, and it will lift his spirits.

Another simple way to bring positivity into your team member's working day is ensure that he has a healthy, vibrant workplace. For example, is the lighting good, has everyone got enough space to work in, and are there adequate refreshment facilities? Encourage some personalization too - a few family photos could bring the office alive.


(Questions 1, 6, 12, 16)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

An unhappy person will struggle to get into the "zone." She'll find it hard to really engage in her work and this often shows in lower productivity, uncreative work, and time wasted on social media. But when she is fully engaged, she'll enter that state of "flow" where little can distract her.

Engagement starts with strong communication. Use team briefings to outline tasks clearly and to keep everyone up to date on what's happening in the organization. Be honest: if your team member trusts that you share everything you can, she'll feel more involved and connected, and see a reason to stay around.

Minimize distractions so that she can focus on her work. Encourage her to turn off her phone, find a quieter room to work in, or try out time management tools like the Pomodoro Technique™.

Does she know exactly how to do her work, or are there frustrations and mistakes? Ensure she has the equipment, training and development she needs to keep on top of her role and improve her skills.

Daniel Pink points out, in his book "Drive," that we are more engaged when we have some autonomy. Encourage your employee to think about how she could shape her job to make it more "hers" and you'll likely see her blossom.

Positive Relationships

(Questions 2, 8, 11, 17)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

If your team member spends most of his waking hours with his colleagues, he'll need to get on with them. Otherwise, his days will drag by or become very stressful.

Of course, you cannot force people to be friends, but you can certainly help create a cooperative and kind atmosphere. You can also build trust by creating a forum for people to voice opinions without fear of reprisal.

Together with your team member, find ways to share in what Margaret Heffernan calls "social capital." For example, consider making it a rule that no one eats at their desk but instead mixes with other teams in a communal cafe area. Encourage him to spend time with his co-workers outside work, too. Could he organize a lunch out or a team-building away day?

Remember that your job is also to manage team conflict appropriately, and to minimize the negative effects of office politics. Some people will change jobs rather than face a daily battle.


(Questions 5, 7, 14)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

Many of us want to know that we're working for a greater purpose, so help your team member to understand where her role fits into the bigger picture.

Ensure she receives any feedback from satisfied customers or senior managers, and let her know how a project she worked on has contributed to company performance. Use Business Storytelling to inspire her!

Be sure to explain mission and vision statements to connect her individual goals with the team's and organization's, and use Management by Objectives to keep her on track.

If your organization has a corporate social responsibility program, show her the positive effect your organization has on the community, and make it easy for her to volunteer time to help. This is a great way to raise morale and support a greater cause at the same time.


(Questions 3, 9, 15)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

We all tend to feel happier if we know that we're meeting our responsibilities and doing well. So be sure to recognize any "small wins" that your team member makes towards his objectives each day.

Use SMART and meaningful goals to focus his attention, and ensure he is rewarded when he's achieved these goals. This reward doesn't have to be financial. A simple "thank you" for a job well done will set the tone for everyone else to follow - but if a celebration is in order, go for it!

Practice Management by Walking Around and try to "catch" him doing things right, rather than wrong, as Ken Blanchard advises.

He might be ambitious for new responsibilities or promotion. If the company structure limits formal progression, try setting him stretch goals so that he doesn't become bored, and everyone benefits from his potential.

Key Points

Use this quiz to help you find out how happy your team member is in the workplace. Then you can more easily gauge her well-being and identify ways of strengthening her productivity, while improving your chance of keeping her. The PERMA model provides five factors to measure and target: positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning, and accomplishment/achievement.

(Note that this quiz is a navigational construct, designed to help readers find the tools that will help them most. It is not intended to be a validated psychometric instrument.)

This self-test is just one of a large set that helps you evaluate your abilities in a wide range of important career skills. Click here for other self-tests.

This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you'll find here at Mind Tools. Subscribe to our free newsletter, or join the Mind Tools Club and really supercharge your career!

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