Here are my picks of the best of the Positive Psychology At Work LinkedIn group this month – Join here
Sarah Lewis: Bite-Sized from Positive Psychology at Work: Appreciative Inquiry and Team Development
I work a lot with team development. I come across a number of team development myths – two key ones being
Storming is a necessary condition for team development, and,
Blood on the carpet is necessary for conflict resolution
understandably these beliefs, particularly for a team in trouble, can produce a lot of anxiety when a team day is suggested.
Appreciative Inquiry offers an approach to effective team development that neatly side steps this desire to and anxiety about confronting issues head on by switching focus to what is working and what is wanted. In my experience this leads to many issues dis-solving (rather than being continually re-solved)
Top tips for team development from an AI perspective might be
Create Positivity – inquire into sources of pride, celebrate success, foster mutual appreciation, offer recognition, use humour.
Build Commonality – discover and dream together around the positive core of the team
Capitalize on Difference – reframe conflict as an expression of difference, and as such a valuable team resource.
Build Value from Strengths – think of the team as an economy of strengths, work out how to get the best value for everyone from the individual strengths in the team
Value Relationships – create genuine acceptance and appreciation of the uniqueness of each individual
I followed my own advice with a deeply stuck and very anxious group yesterday and we had a very productive day with the group becoming energised and genuinely generative in the afternoon, proposing their own changes to shift the difficult group dynamic. Small shifts, but shifts which over time will amplify into a different dynamic.
Jim Moss • Love this, I wish I had more time to comment right now, but I’ll leave it at that.
Terry Bruns • I agree, Sarah, nice post, especially the top tips and the last sentence about small shifts over time will amplify into a different dynamic. Thanks for the post.
Leanne Lowish • I agree and in my experience unless some of the elephants in the room are named teams will resist going to positivity and will find it superficial so I think its a balance and each team will differ and its knowing when to move into appreciating as staying too long in the conflict can be demotivating especially when we consider Gottmans research on relationships where he found that 69% of conflict is unresolvable!
Elizabeth Maher • Sarah, love your comprehensive post. I have always found appreciative inquiry, applied in a sincere and trustworthy manner, to yield productive, profitable and positive outcomes.
Sarah Lewis • Thank you all for your kind comments. It encourages me to keep producing these bite-sized posts. Re Elizabeth’s comment. In the UK there is a minor scandal going on as it has been discovered that the Job Centre ( Government service for job seekers) was getting people to find in a ‘strengths’ questionnaire that was delivering spurious results. Apparently this was an attempt by the ‘nudge unit’ (another Government body attempting to apply behavioural research on a macro-scale to nudge people into desired behaviour) to produce placebo effects as people were given a seemingly random list of their strengths.
In these ways is cynicism born.
Nona Hall-Sandoval: A great Ted Talk on Positive Psychology
Showed this video to my psychology students last night introducing them to positive psychology…what a treat to see the positive response.
Sarah Lewis: Building a positive workplace
Nice little article that popped up through google.