Are self-disciplined people happier?

a self-disciplined woman

It is surprising to think that self-control could make you happier.

This groundbreaking 1998 research found that self-control is like a muscle. You can exercise this muscle by resisting that morning cup of coffee for another hour. But as the working day progresses your self-control ‘muscle’ gets tired, affecting your performance. Professionals have tried to combat this by beginning with the most challenging tasks in order to get the most out of their self-control abilities. Other high performers decrease the number of decisions they make in a day, Obama once told Vanity Fair that: 

“You’ll see I wear only grey or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” 

We’re entering an age where technology will decrease the number of decisions we make or make it easier. For instance,  AI will make processes and decision making a lot simpler by either performing our mundane tasks or advising what the best hiring decision is. Allowing us to apply self-control to the most important tasks. 

Happiness and self-discipline

This study found that self-disciplined people are happier. The research also revealed that participants who had higher self-control were better at choosing the best option when conflict arose than people with lower self-control. It’s not surprising that this ability would aid high achievers who regularly need to make the right decisions for a company. 

What do high performers have in common?

We identify and work with top performers from a variety of sectors. Although each sector has its unique attributes that ensure success there are a few traits which are universal. Our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer, comments on this: 

“These studies are an excellent example of the assessments and consequent results that we see in graduates on Management Fast Tracks. The ability to suppress initial urges to ‘react’ and consciously prioritise and ‘ignore’ unhelpful distractions or ‘reactive urges’ is key to become highly proficient in many areas. The outstanding people we have had the great pleasure of assessing and working with tend to score high on the attribute of Response Inhibition. It will be interesting to see whether this allows them to maintain higher levels of emotional wellbeing over time as well – often critical in the roles that they are in, and generally beneficial for all of us to look after.”

Each individual has their own unique set of abilities. Within a team of people there is going to be varying levels of will power. A team can support each other in improving their self-control, for instance, only bringing in healthy snacks so no one is tempted by junk food. In general, we believe a strong team has a range of abilities. For example, an extroverted person is able to effectively engage with clients, whilst an introvert on the team can problem solve an issue they are having. 

Discover how self disciplined your teams are 

On our platform you can assess an employee’s Response Inhibition, allowing you to see if they are reaping the benefits of this attribute. However, you can save time by assessing your team as a whole with our Team Fit tool. 

Team Fit is designed to assess how well a team functions in relation to interpersonal chemistry (Social Cohesion) and diversity of thought (Cognitive Fit). The process is designed around a combination of standardised online assessment instruments and customised surveys for teams of up to 100 members. You can also view reports detailing descriptive feedback, key takeaways, general feedback and insights. Armed with this scientifically backed information, it will make managing a team slightly easier. Find out more about Team Fit here.  

There are many methods we can use to improve our self-control to optimise our day and the decisions we make. Teams may find it easier to support each other in improving this ability. Finding out what your team’s Response Inhibition or collective abilities are will allow you to optimise your decision making. Book a demo with us to try our Team Fit tool. 

Product focus: What is Cognisess Team Fit and why are more and more clients using it?

woman on floor

If a company is orientated towards achieving high performance and a positive work environment, it is also important to have the right mix of people in their teams. At Cognisess we have developed Cognisess Team Fit: a tool to help organisations create diverse and high performing teams.

Whilst we all work well on our own a lot of the time, and with more and more people choosing to work remotely – it does not negate the fact that we are all still part of a larger team and don’t in fact work in isolation. Therefore it is crucial to understand the working dynamics of the team we are part of, and how communication and information processing styles are mirrored and opposed positively or negatively within any team environment.

What is Cognisess Team Fit?

Cognisess Team Fit is a specific feature of Cognisess Pro’s assessment platform. It collates and maps an individual’s results via a user-friendly graph against the attributes of others in any defined team or group.  It is used primarily by managers to observe the dynamics within their teams in order to analyse and compare what ‘good team performance’ looks like. The data is divided into two disciplines:

  • Social cohesion – this shows us how people prefer to work and communicate. Attributes such as collaboration, leadership, people skills and psychological safety are measured by the tool to give us an insight into any team.
  • Cognitive fit – this reveals how individuals make sense of the world around them. Traits measured include: critical thinking, how result focused they are, how adaptable the team can be and how creative and innovative they are. This allows us to understand the group’s dynamics in terms of prevalent thinking and decision-making styles.

One of the key games used for Cognisess Team Fit is our Lens Pro personality assessment that is based on psychology’s ‘Big Five’ personality factors. This tool incorporates large amounts of research that stems both from our own data and numerous studies around teams by very well respected Google research groups, Harvard Business School and many others.

Dr Boris Altemeyer, our Chief Scientific Officer, notes that: “We do not have a prescriptive ‘best fit’ for a team. Instead, we encourage the users to compare the abilities and preferences against other team members, as well as the overall population norms, to gather intelligence on what makes each person uniquely suited to their role in the team. In overall terms, we are not looking for a conformity mindset in a team. Diversity and balance are key factors to achieve in putting together a high performing team. And these are not that obvious to decipher in standard assessments”

The benefits: save time, become more productive

Team composition can greatly impact on performance. A Bandran Hall Group survey reported that 72% of all organisations viewed team performance as having a positive effect on overall productivity. Therefore, Cognisess Team Fit can support managers with the evaluation of high performing teams. For instance, if a sales manager notices one of her teams is not working well together she can use the Team Fit feature to diagnose the imbalance and apply an informed solution.

Our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer, comments that: “Companies who use Team Fit are generally interested in understanding what makes a particular team great in the first place at performing their project related tasks. Those team dynamics can vary greatly whether we are talking about a project team, a sales team, an account team or an innovation team. Once the composition of each of these is understood, then it is easier to focus on making the correct decision when adding a new person to that team or starting a new team”.

Diversity is strength in depth

A strong team will collectively have a varied skill set, for instance, if one team member’s weakness is creativity it will be another’s area of expertise. If the team’s abilities are too similar problems may start to occur. For example, if all these employees have a low leadership score there wouldn’t be a clear leader and no individual will be prepared to take charge of the group.

With this innovative feature available, managers are more able to reveal how an individual will fit into an existing team dynamic. This is ideal for a HR manager wanting to see how a new recruit will fit into a team or deciding which office to transfer an account manager to. This also saves time, as the team and individual don’t need to meet for the HR manager to understand whether a person would fit well into that team. This not only increases resource efficiency for managers, but also prevents any loss in productivity derived from the wrong individuals working together.

Based on our analysis of self-reports from employees we have observed that teams that have gone through a guided Cognisess Team Fit exercise tend to communicate in a better, and more constructive way. This is due to individuals gaining a shared understanding and insight into how their fellow team members process and express information. Such insight and knowledge enables teams to come together in a more positive and supportive way,

Creating stronger teams for our clients and partners

Cognisess Team Fit has been used very successfully by many of our clients including the world’s largest brewer, AB InBev, and by specialist executive search consultants, Perpetual Insights.

Dr Boris Altemeyer has helped many of our clients and partners enhance their understanding of teams using the tool  “A particular example that has stuck with me was a high profile team who had been working together in high pressured corporate environments for a long time. When first shown the Cognisess Team Fit results, the team burst out in heartfelt laughter and commented on how this ‘explained it all’. They could sense the character and behavioural preferences that were at play and they had already had a ‘gut feeling’ about, but had never been able to verbalise these in a constructive or meaningful way. It was overall a very positive experience that brought the team closer together and encouraged them to be more open in their communication. It also highlighted that some of their colleagues are naturally more aligned to particular business areas, and therefore resource-allocation can be made in a much more ‘naturally-fitting’ way.”

Cognisess Team Fit is a scientifically backed solution designed to get the best out of your organisations’ teams. It is a tool that helps a manager intricately understand an individual’s abilities and how they can impact on the wider team. Cognisess Team Fit is one part of Cognisess Pro, the most advanced People Analytics and Assessment Platform on the market today. To try Cognisess Team Fit or experience any of Cognisess Pro’s innovative features – contact us for a FREE demo today.