Positive psychology: not only a building block of growth and resilience
1 February 2022
Shahaf Ben Moshe
Management used to address workers with uniform management tools, one size for all. Nowadays, more and more organizations (especially the successful ones) have recognized that motivation and results are based on workers’ individual strengthes. When managers acknowledge these strengths, they can maximize them to benefit the entire organization.
Positive psychology is a branch of psychology focused on happiness and quality of life. Positive psychology deals with cultivating human strengths, unlike classic therapeutic psychology, which focuses on identifying and treating psychological issues.
Positive psychology acts as ‘preventive medicine,’ cultivating resilience and growth. Some organizations and managers still view positive psychology as a therapeutic tool, an alternative medical treatment, or a ‘hippy’ profession. They are unaware of the organization’s profit and colossal value.
Nowadays, most organizations still follow two main principles when developing their workers:
Anyone can be trained to do nearly anything
One’smost significant area of growth is based on their areas of greatest weakness.
This is why organizations toil to improve weaknesses. Got a hesitant worker? Send him to an assertiveness and negotiation workshop. Got a disorganized worker? Let’s have him take a time management course.
However, human, personal, and organizational experience has shown that it is pretty challenging to change our weaker traits. Positive psychology changes the formula and places enhancing strengths front and center.
Every person has unique and fixed talents. Their most enormous growth potential lies in their most prominent strengths.
Organizations that have implemented management practices derived from positive psychology have reported growth both in organizational and business terms.
An excessively optimistic approach can lead to a bias in management’s understanding which, in turn, will affect decision-making processes. On the other hand, the organization can improve and build more beneficial mechanisms by debriefing mistakes, disadvantages, or failures. Therefore, it’s best to consider the approach’s advantages while balancing them out.
Hereby are four management tools from the world of positive psychology (from endless tools this approach has to offer):
1.Cherishing studies: this approach suggests addressing positive resources such as the organization and workers’ strengths, successes, and abilities. They recommend studying these aspects and enhancing their influence on the organization and its workers.
Cherishing study can be applied on two levels:
The organizational level: reviewing the organization’s successes, learning from them, developing strategies for continued operation, and becoming inspired by them.
The individual worker level: suggesting performance assessment processes that focus on each worker’s strengths, as well as the methods and settings in which these strengths can be implemented. They will thus experience more satisfaction, increasing motivation and, in turn, resilience and growth.
2.Position reformation: a process in which workers, on their initiative, alter select properties of their position and contribute to a redefinition of its description so that it suits their skills, needs, and strengths. This process enhances their sense of ableness and wellbeing.
This process can be viewed in the following ways:
Reforming tasks and structural/organizational definitions: the worker initiates a change of number, type, or a variety of tasks and activities their position’s definition includes. Workers may choose or prioritize tasks that suit their abilities or areas of interest.
Reforming the position to accommodate it to the worker’s needs and skills, thus enhancing their happiness and the quality of work. This process is implemented aligned with the organization’s needs.
3.Positive leadership: a leadership strategy that aspires to harness employees’ energy for a collective task and empower them professionally and personally. Positive leadership advocates constant self-reflection processes, close initiation, and personalized management adapted to each worker’s skills and settings.
Generating a positive meaning by defining organizational values
Generating a positive atmosphere
Utilizing positive communication
Generating positive relationships between workers and management
4.compassionate communication: this approach aims to solve conflicts by identifying both parties’ shared needs and then discussing solutions. The idea is that during the first stage, no disputes are discussed, thus generating a human connection between the parties. This connection enables conflict resolution on a much higher behavioral level.
The four stages according to compassionate communication:
Reflection: what did I hear/see? What exactly happened? Refer to facts rather than to interpretations, assessments, or analyses.
Emotions: how do I/you feel at the moment? Do not refer to thoughts or evaluations.
Needs: what do I/you need at the moment? Do not refer to strategies.
Requests: my requests from myself and others. Keep it clear, specific, positive, and attainable. Do not make demands, and refrain from wishes, orders, or directions.
The building blocks of positive psychology are implementable in most areas of life as workers, parents, partners, significant others, peers, and more.
We can only gain from integrating them into our lives as soon as possible.