We recently attended an interesting event that introduced the principles Positive Psychology – we wrote here about some of our impressions and key learning points.
For this post we asked the conference host, Sukh Pabial, to look at simple ways that these principles could be incorporated in the workplace…
“In the corporate world, there are a growing number of ways to have discussions on the best way to engage staff. Broadly what they’re all aiming to do is have an engaged workforce where people are willing to increase the amount of discretionary effort they make at work – that is, putting in extra effort at work because you want to, with no expectation of extra gain. It’s the Holy Grail for many organisations.
There’s a good many ways this can be achieved. But few offer authentic ways of actually trusting your staff. At its core, this is what we want our people to believe – that they are trusted to do a good job. Positive Psychology offers us a way to create this level of trust.
Firstly it’s important to debunk a myth that positive thinking and positive psychology are the same – they are not. Positive thinking is useful for maintaining an optimistic outlook on life and not being dragged down by negative thinking. Positive Psychology helps us to identify behaviours that when changed will create long lasting effects of feeling good and happiness. Imagine being happy at work. Some workplaces achieve this well, others are striving to get there.
Here are three things that organisations can do to make this possible:
Suspend annual leave policies
Sounds crazy doesn’t it. I mean how would that even work? And wouldn’t people just take full advantage and take leave whenever they felt like it? The research has shown that in companies where this has happened, people will be very willing to do the work they have to in order to take the leave they want to. It’s a great way of showing how much you trust your people. There are logistics around making it work, yet it’s very possible to make a reality.
Recognise the ambitions of your people
One of the most common ways people progress in a company is to promote them into positions of responsibility and authority. Well those are two different things, so why not have people fulfilling both? There are those for whom line management is the desired next step and they’ll be good at doing that. There are others for whom being an expert in their domain is important, and they’ll excel at that. Play to your people’s strengths and they’ll deliver the results.