Blog Categories: leading with strengths
Posted on May 7, 2019
This article points out the key ways to use strengths, and how we often overuse key strengths. A study is cited on how often managers can overuse signature strength or, as Melinda Gates is quoted as saying: “Often our greatest weaknesses are the other side our strengths.”
From The New York Times:
How Your Strengths Can Sometimes Become Weaknesses
Instead of striving to use your strengths more often, aim to use them more wisely.
Posted on January 10, 2016
Social Scientists at the turn of the 21st century decided to study what makes people thrive, flourish and lead successful lives. The results of these studies have given us some rich data to apply to our lives, especially our work lives where we are spending more and more of our time. Applying these resources to the work place costs minimal amounts. The rewards on this investment yield: increased employee engagement, greater employee productivity and higher job satisfaction to name a few. This brief article article gives a review of the benefits of applying positive psychology in the work place and how your business can thrive as a result. Many of the workshops and trainings that I do focus on more engaged employees and increased profitability applying Positive Psychology methods in the work place. Contact me if you would like more information: Rosemarie@Perlagroup.com.
Posted on January 12, 2013
Research shows that when we can maintain a ratio of 3 (positive emotion) : 1 (negative emotion) in the work place we show up more able to make and maintain productive relationships, have more effective team interactions and more successful client interactions. Maintaining this ratio is challenging given the negative bias of negative emotions on the brain: we are biologically hard wired to pay more attention to negative emotion. Often stated: positive emotion is like “teflon” on the brain and negative emotion more like “velcro” on our brains.
So what to do?
These resources offer brilliant ways to practice increasing positive emotions and thinking to get to the tipping point each day at work of 3:1:
Barbara Fredrickson, Positivity, Three Rivers Press, 2009: This book, now available in paperback, is written by an award winning social scientist. Dr. Fredrickson not only explains her research but gives poignant examples from her own life of how she maintains positivity. The book also lists exercises and methods to practice daily to maintain the 3:1 ratio at work and in life. Also, check out Dr. Fredrickson’s website: www.positivityratio.com to test your positivity ratio each day.
Lynn Johnson, Enjoy LIfe: Healing with Happiness-available on his website and on Amazon. The subtitle of this book is: How to harness positive moods to raise your energy, effectiveness and joy. Dr Johnson gives really practical suggestions to maintain the positivity ratio as well as clear descriptions of relevant social science research.
Barbara Fredrickson and Marcel Losada, “Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing”, American Psychologist, October 2005. For those interested in reading the research data.
Martin Seligman, Flourishing and Authentic Happiness. Dr. Seligman is considered the Father of Positive Psychology. He is a must read if you are interested in studying Positive Psychology and applying the findings to your own life. He posits that in order to flourish in life (and to increase positive emotion) we need: Positive relationships, Engagement or flow, Relationships/social connnections, Meaning or Purpose and Accomplishment in our lives.
Posted on January 23, 2010
“Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do”
Jahad-ad-din Rumi (Persian poet 1207-1273)
Remember when you were a little kid and you would dream about who you wanted to BE when you grew up? Just the thought of independently communicating your power at a job where you expressed your talents, strengths and interest…felt, well it felt grown up.
Then you grew up. Keeping the enthusiasm, interest and passion alive for your work can be a challenge. Think about how much time we spend at work. Today, with lean teaming and downsizing, people often spend more than 8 hours a day in the workplace. Why not reconnect with that early enthusiasm that drove you to consider expressing your gifts, your sense of contributing to the world and making a difference?
First, identify your strengths and then find ways to use them and develop them at your job. A previous blog I wrote (October, 2009) directs you to a website: www.authentichappiness.com where you can take a short test (the VIA Strengths Survey) that identifies your top 5 strengths. Consider exploring ways to express those strengths at your job. For example, if “Love of Learning” is a strength of yours, then you might organize a “lunch and learn” for co-workers in the workplace.
A second way that can move you toward happier times in the workplace is to notice how often you give into negative thinking at work. Many times this is fueled by unhappy co-workers. Walking away is one answer to this type scenario… as my colleague Dave Ellis says, “That’s why we have feet.” However, it is harder to walk away when those thoughts stay in your own mind. When you notice those “grumpy” thoughts, instead of entertaining them, consider the alternative of letting them go. The more energy you put into these thoughts, the more you’re apt to go down the negative spiral, which brings your energy down, and your thoughts following. Or, to ask yourself, “What do I want to change about this situation?” Then move into productive action and become a part of the answer instead of continuing the complaint. We know we work best when we are in a good mood, which means shifting those thought towards being grateful, appreciative and glad to be working and contributing.
The next time you find yourself feeling unhappy at work—try asking yourself what is right and good about your work? In my work as a professional coach and psychologist, I have the opportunity to talk to people who are successful by societal standards- having prestige and great paying jobs; as well as people who are working in low-income jobs. Both types of people tell me they are sometimes happy at work and sometimes not – what makes a difference is how they practice being happy where they are. They begin to learn more, grow more and then often find more opportunities coming their way as well. Researchers are learning that, regardless of your work, when you practice positive emotion in the workplace, you increase your problem solving capacities, bring more meaning to your workday and build resiliency- all important factors in developing happiness.
Take away: If you want to be happier at work, start with how you are being at work: exercise your strengths and express more positive emotion in your present job. Perhaps you might find that uplifting and empowering feeling you had once when you dreamed of what you would be when you grew up. Wasn’t happiness a part of that dream?
Fredrickson, B.L. & Losada, M.F. (2005). Positive affect and the complex dynamics of human flourishing. American Psychologist, 60(7), 678-686.
Colan, L.J. (2004). Passionate Performance. Dallas, TX: CornerStone Leadership Institute.
Lynn D. Johnson. Happiness: Create the Perfect Job. 2008 – 801.261.1412.
Posted on October 29, 2009
“Let him that would move the world, first move himself”
Executive coaches work more or less exclusively with senior people from organizations. They work with clients to achieve speedy, increased and sustainable effectiveness in their lives and careers through focused learning. The coach’s sole aim is to work with the client to achieve all the client’s potential- as defined by the client.
In today’s competitive work and economic environment where business people find themselves, Coaches aid clients in keeping that edge needed for succeeding in business and in leading others.
Coaches carry this out this by generating positivity in clients:
- Helping them to identify what makes them flourish
- Developing their capacity and resources for successful change and,
- Facilitating processes designed for successful change.
Simply, what is this process like? Executive coaches meet with clients and, through a series of assessments and questions designed to uncover their purpose, values and strengths, help them to speak what they want to carry out in their work life. Examples of this may be: managing staff’s performance, meeting productivity metrics, uncovering ways to become more inspired and energized to meet performance expectations, etc. Next coaching assists them in creating a vision of what they want: how it looks and feels – now and in the future. This leads to setting a plan of action and frameworks for supporting this plan. Coaches hold their clients accountable to doing what they say they want and identifying what gets in the way when expectations aren’t met. Along this journey of performance enhancement the client may ask for specific skill instructions for behavioral change. And, they more often co-create with the coach a framework for uncovering their own brilliance and capacity for growth in their chosen life’s work.
Take away: What are your strengths that help you to flourish as a business leader? Go to www.authentichappiness.com and take the VIA strengths survey. Consider how you might use these strengths each day in your work environment to move you toward the vision of success that you have set for yourself.
Diane Coutu and Carol Kaufman, “The Realities of Executive Coaching”, Harvard Business Review, January 2009.
Rogers, Jenny, Coaching Skills: A Handbook 2nd Edition, McGraw Hill, 2004.
Notes from the 2nd Annual Harvard Conference: “Coaching in Medicine and Leadership”, Boston, Mass., September 2009.