Four ways positive psychology can improve your working day
It is not falling down that’s the issue, it is not getting up again
Positive psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.
Positive psychology is one of the many helpful components of neuro linguistic programming (NLP). Many people can dismiss positive psychology because it sounds too quirky. It’s not just mumbo jumbo, but like mindfulness can both make your day go better and bring you better results in the bargain.
Here are four ways in which positive psychology can help you.
1. Be grateful
Many people, especially the British, are experts at complaining. Many are always moaning about the weather, especially in Dubai where it’s always “too hot”, “too humid” or even “too cold” because of the air conditioning!
Every day many things go right – you have somewhere to live, you have something nice to eat. You can spend your leisure time with people you like. And there are so many elegant places to go if you feel like a drink or a nice meal. If you stop and look around you every day and look at the biggest thing which went right today then you can be grateful for it.
Stop complaining about the new shoes you think you need, other people’s driving, what’s not on TV. Stop expecting retail therapy to work and then having to decide whether to buy a new wardrobe or give last week’s purchases to charity. Every day – stop and think – just be grateful for what you have.
2. Playing to your strengths
If you know what you are really good at, then the more you practice these the better you get. Equally within a team, everyone will want to learn new skills, but if you know what each team member is good at, likes to do, or wants to learn, then whenever possible give them opportunities to develop new strengths.
But when the chips are down then this is when you need to form your crack team. This is not the time to realize that your team members don’t know each other. Nor is it the time to realize that the mangers don’t know who to trust or who to delegate to. You can use Myers-Briggs assessments to build balanced teams but use the slacker times to really get to know yourself and your teams, and for them to know each other.
So learn to play to your strengths and indeed encourage others to do the same. The more people play to their strengths the less stressed they are and the more they can deliver to the required goals.
One of my personal strengths is gathering people so that in an emergency I know who to ask. Not the time to be scrolling through endless websites.
3. Building resilience
It is not falling down that’s the issue, it is not getting up again. Learning how to cope when things go wrong will help you not to be one of the individuals who takes days off due to stress. In the UK in 2014 a massive 9.9 million working days were lost for stress, depression or anxiety. To quote Captain Jack Sparrow: “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem”. That’s from NLP. As is “There is no such thing as failure, only feedback”. Being able to bounce back and getting up again is essential for building ever-expanding skills and increasing comfort zone. What do we know about people who have never made mistakes? They have never made any decisions!
4. Dynamic employee engagement
Many surveys focus on trying to identify whether an employee is “engaged” or “not engaged”. And most are not.
By encouraging individuals to identify what went well, and by managers giving credit to individuals for what went well, employee engagement can be radically improved. Paying someone more money is unlikely to improve engagement. If the manager always chastises the staff member for getting the smallest things wrong, then that staff member will be completely disengaged and do the minimum.
Public praise and recognition for a job well done – even if it’s the basic job – can make a huge difference. If the staff member goes the extra mile for the client this is worthy of praise too and can encourage others to do the same. The staff member will have a better day, will be encouraged to deliver more and go home to his family a happier man – at no cost to the company.
These are just part of what positive psychology can do. Just try it on yourself and on your team.