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If you want to create a more positive workplace, consider becoming an 'emotional tank filler', says Atlassian's global operations head

Sharon Masige
  • Atlassian's Global Head of Strategy & Operations, R&D, Molly Hellerman discussed the idea of the emotional fuel tank, which can determine our attitude and approach.
  • Hellerman suggested ways to be an emotional tank filler for others, such as showing appreciation and listening.
  • Hellerman also discussed an initiative Atlassian has called The Happiness Project which encourages individuals to share something they are grateful for.

Are you a tank filler?

At the Atlassian Open event on October 1, Atlassian Global Head of Strategy & Operations, R&D, Molly Hellerman discussed theories around positivity and ways you can add more positivity in the workplace.

Hellerman described the idea of an emotional fuel tank, something she said we all have, that can impact how we feel.

"It is the record of all the events that happen to us in a day," Hellerman told Business Insider Australia. "And if we have positive things that are happening to us, our tank is necessarily more full. And if there's negative things ... our tank is drained. And at base, our tank goes up and down every day, and that predicts our attitude and our approach, many times, to other people."

During her talk, Hellerman said that while you can't do anything about how someone approaches you, you can try and find ways to have them leave your presence with a fuller tank.

"That's the theory behind it," Hellerman said. "How can we make sure that when people interact with us, when people are part of our team, when we're at meetings with them, that they are actually leaving this time together with more full tanks?"

And so how does one exactly become a tank filler?

Hellerman shared some examples: showing praise and appreciation that is both truthful and specific, showing recognition and simply listening.

Another example Hellerman identified was sharing triumphs and learnings. She explained that in the teams she's in at Atlassian, they give high fives to team members who have helped them out.

In addition, Hellerman mentioned Atlassian's pilot program called the Happiness Project which is geared toward positivity in the workplace.

"It's something that we're piloting right now within R&D," Hellerman told Business Insider Australia.

Hellerman explained that at the company's last summit event, author of The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, discussed how a brain that dwells on the positive is much more impactful than a brain that is dwelling on negative thoughts.

"He talked about happiness in that realm and so we decided to start a project called the happiness project, where people would share a gratitude," Hellerman said.

"It can be anything that you're thinking, like, 'I'm happy that I got a coffee today'."

Hellerman said it was more about getting to know others in your team and "meeting people wherever they're at".