Emotional states are an overlooked resource in the workplace. How we feel affects how we work individually and together as well as our resilience to stress and our creativity. Unlike other resources to help our staff in these straitened times, positive emotional states are a zero-cost, renewable, source of energy. And they make a difference to those around us.
Many of us have noticed a strange paradox but been unable to put a name to it. We believe that a job that doesn’t demand too much of us should mean we have plenty of energy left over for our real interests. Furthermore, we anticipate that if that job not only doesn’t demand much of us but also pays us very well, then we should experience happiness: we have beaten the system! We are being paid for doing practically nothing, what could be a better arrangement?
And yet, after an initial sense of triumph, it can slowly become apparent that the logic - lots of money for little work equals happiness and a fulfilled life - doesn’t work out. Instead we feel, well, that something isn’t right. That despite the income we aren’t happy at work.
It is very easy for people to become demoralised or demotivated during change as work becomes harder (less familiar) and possibly less rewarding (we’re not yet skilled at it). At the same time there is often a sense of loss of past habits or pleasurable activities, and a disruption to rewarding relationships. At the same time the manager can be so distracted and pressurised with all the meetings and decisions to do with the change programme that they are less relaxed and more critical than usual. They may also be around less, removing a valuable source of positive feedback for people.
To counter-act this, to ensure that people maintain good morale, are motivated, effective and resilient, we need to concentrate on helping people maintain a positive emotional state and a belief in their ability to influence things happening in their world.
Increasingly being an effective manager is about helping others to be their best. People’s natural strengths are at the heart of great performance. While there are great psychometrics around to assess people’s strengths they aren’t always available, suitable, or affordable. A pack of strengths cards is portable, re-useable and infinitely applicable. Below are eight ways managers can use a pack of strengths card to enhance their effectiveness.
What is positive devience and why is it a good thing?
Positive Deviance is an exciting methodology emerging from an understanding of organisations as complex adaptive systems. It helps organisations learn from those who manage to achieve better than normal outcomes from within the same resource constraints as their colleagues.
What is Strategy?
Strategy is often thought of in organizations as a plan for achieving a specific future. The plan is created by a small group of people who then inform others of the vision of the future and the plan to get there.
Teams are the building blocks of organizations. Teams are groups of people who work together to achieve things, but not all groups are teams. Teams are characterized by interdependencies, in other words team members have to work together to get things done. While this interdependency creates the potential for the whole to be more productive and creative than the sum of the parts, it can just as easily be a recipe for frustration and conflict. How can you help your team get the most out of working together?
Planned change approaches inadvertently encourage people to give up trying to contribute to the change conversation or to influence how it happens. They can become passive, demotivated and demoralised, waiting to be told what to do. It is when the downsides of this approach become apparent that people find their way to me, presenting their challenge as a problem of dis-engagement, poor morale, people needing support during change.
According to Professor Alex Linley, “a strength is a pre-existing capacity for a particular way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is authentic and energising to the user, and enables optimal functioning, development and performance” In fact, the strengths concept is so central to positive psychology nowadays, that the knowledge and utilisation of one’s strengths is considered to be one of the most direct routes to personal and professional fulfilment.
So you've got some of our Positive Organisational Development Cards - now what? We have produced a list of 10 ideas for ways in which you could use the cards to add value to your work with different audiences.
The Positive Organisational Development Cards each cover a key concept from the field of positive psychology.
The concepts reflect key findings from positive psychology research of things that make a positive difference to organisational life. Each card lists the benefits of the concept, provides three questions to stimulate discussion, and is followed by three pointers for development. Each is introduced briefly below, arranged in four groups, to help you follow them and get an idea of any you aren't familiar with as well as to help explain them to your audiences.
This was the question posed to me recently by an HR Director taking up a new post with a big change agenda. He was attracted to the idea of positive change, but working with an organization with a long and successful history, he was challenged about how to galvanise the workforce into engaging with the necessary changes. I thought it was a great question and it has stayed with me.
How might the spirit of appreciative inquiry, the desire to ‘grow more of what we want’ help create more effective listening? And how this might help reposition ‘active listening’ as a systemic, dynamic, creative act.
Leaders and managers are increasingly expected to introduce changes in work practices, routines and structures as part of their management role. Myths abound about the challenges of doing this. Here we lay five to rest.
Roffey Park research suggests that there are three key components to employee engagement: my job, my organization, my value. Their report ‘The human voice of employee engagement: understanding what lies beneath the surveys’ gives a full and readable account of the factors that make a difference. A key finding is that pride is at the heart of employee engagement.
Too often appraisals are seen as a human resources owned and driven technical process. Understanding performance management as a social process helps us to realise that the important and key components are the quality of the relationship and the communication. From this perspective the paperwork trail becomes a supporting mechanism rather than the driving mechanism.