At Appreciating Change we believe in the power of positive psychology to transform workplaces by creating positive energy and engagement, to build on individual and organisational strengths and to help people co-create the future direction of the organisation. There are many ways to do this, as explained in my book ‘Positive Psychology at Work’, and here are a few which can be implemented quickly and easily:
1. Opening meetings with a round of recent success stories.
2. Share Losada and Heaphy’s findings about the most successful teams at your next team meeting.
A ratio of three positive to one negative comment
As many questions as statements
As much thought given to those outside the group as those in it
And ask people to aspire to achieve these ratios in the meeting
3. Help people identify their strengths.
Informally have a discussion around “What do you find most energizing’ or ‘What can’t you not do?’ or more formally using a psychometric instrument such as ‘strengthscope’.
4. Use active constructive responses to reports of achievement and success.
This means inquiring into it and encouraging the person to express positive feelings of pride, achievement etc., as opposed to passive constructive ‘well done’, passive destructive (ignoring, not responding, changing the subject) or active destructive (outlining all the possible downsides). This isn’t in my book, it is in Seligman’s Flourishing if you want more information.
5. Give diamond feedback, frequently.
Diamond feedback is action specific e.g. ‘I really like the way you handled that customer, the way you kept your cool and kept listening, you really turned her around.’
6. Allocate tasks by strengths rather than role, and delegate by volunteer rather than imposition when possible.
7. Include the collection of positive stories in the induction process.
Equip new people with some appreciative questions around pride, success, achievement and send them off to interview people.
8. Notice the people who create positive energy in their interactions, use them strategically in projects and initiatives.
9. Stop doing what you do badly, hate doing, or that kills your will to live.
Find someone to delegate the task to who loves it
Find another way of achieving the objective
Share the burden more widely
And if you can’t do any of these then
Do it in small bursts and reward yourself by doing something really energizing in between the energy-sapping activity
10. Know and own your strengths and tell other people about them so they know to call on you for things you love doing!