Thursday, 6 October 2016

Postive Psychology that works in the workplace

According to the British Psychological Society, psychology remains one of the most popular subjects to study. There’s no denying that the study of psychology is immensely rewarding and we would – obviously – advocate psychology as a career option for those interested in the study of the human psyche and what makes us all tick.

However, don’t despair if a career in psychology is out of reach for you. The chances are you are using psychology in your job today – though you’re not consciously aware of it. If you’re not, we’ve developed some pointers to help you incorporate positive psychology into your workplace to build better relationships, increase motivation and drive performance.

Look at your leadership style

No-one sets out to be a poor leader and often it’s a role that’s thrust upon people when they’re deemed to be ready, rather than something people train for. There are many different leadership styles, but the most successful leaders share the same qualities in the way they interact with their colleagues.

Try to practise some of the following and assess the impact it has on your own performance and that of your team:

  • Offer clear guidance, but allow group members to voice opinions 
  • Talk about possible solutions to problems with members of the group 
  • Focus on stimulating ideas and be willing to reward creativity 

Although some time ago now, a study of Fortune 1000 companies by Collins in 2001 found two further factors that lifted leaders from ‘good to great’:

  • Modesty: the most effective leaders were incredibly modest and humble.
  • Persistence: the leaders who transformed their organisations never stopped pushing towards their goals.

Promote a happy workplace

The driving force behind workplace positive psychology is the notion that happier employees are more productive. So, how do you make your employees happy? Our previous post focussed on stress-busting in the workplace and the same techniques used to ease stress can also help to create a calm and happy atmosphere at work. We’re not talking about big changes here, sometimes a series of small initiatives aimed at helping colleagues feel more satisfied and happier in their work can often pay dividends. So instead of a staff-retreat and jolly, think more along the lines of an open door policy, increasing the frequency of 1-2-1s and introducing a staff suggestion scheme.

Be thankful

Employees are motivated by many different things, but we all appreciate being appreciated.  In much the same way that we are taught to practise positive reinforcement at home with the kids, the same could also be said of how we treat our employees. So focus on the positives in your workplace, and encourage others to do the same. We’re not talking about grand gestures of thanks, a subtle word of gratitude on the quiet will have much the same effect. Why not set yourself a target of emailing one colleague today outlining an aspect of their work that you’re grateful for?

Don’t manage, mentor

Establishing mentoring relationships within your team is one of the best ways to foster worker / employer camaraderie. The manager / employee relationship is one of superiority, the role of mentor is more about enablement, encouragement and nurturing. The mentor / employee relationship is one where honest feedback is welcomed, and a place where employees can get the psychological and social support they need to excel in their role.

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