Positive Psychology and the Implications in Business

Human relations in organizations trace their origins to the popular Hawthorne studies back in 1930, which involved studying the productivity and motivation of employees in response to their environment. Elton Mayo, one of the researchers in the study, popularized the notion that employees be viewed as human beings and not as mechanical cogs, as was thought in Taylorism, the prevalent set of principles active to enhance work efficiency back then. Since then, many have built upon the works of Elton Mayo by stressing the importance of psychology in the workplace and its impact on raising worker productivity. One of the more recent works is The Positive Organization by Robert E. Quinn, who emphasizes the essential nature of using positive psychology to cultivate strong and productive human relationships in organizations.

It is for this very reason that we will explore some of the ways in which positive psychology can positively impact businesses.

“When the people focus on the part rather than the whole, it does not occur to them to ask a most important question: How might the entire culture be reshaped, so the people flourish in their work and exceed expectations as they perform?”

Robert E. Quinn, The Positive Organization

Importance of emotional intelligence Emotional intelligence is defined as the capacity to regulate emotions in one and others. The one who possesses emotional intelligence is able to effectively interact with himself/herself and others by understanding the personality characteristics and, in turn, influence positive emotions.

In the workplace, emotional intelligence is associated with controlling negative emotions such as anger and stress, instead of harboring positive emotions such as hope and optimism, in an effort to meet business tasks and goals. This is especially critical for employees in high-stress jobs such as call centers, emergency medical staff, and ambulance work.

Cultivating strength and self-determination It is also important for businesses to cultivate inner-strength and self-determination among their employees. This is because employees that are intrinsically motivated will most likely have far more resilience to mishaps, crises, and other challenging work requirements without compromising on the quality of their work. Being intrinsically motivated allows employees free reign to become highly involved and take utmost control and responsibility of their work in a positive way and not as a burden.

Offering praise Praise is one of the most unlikely characteristics that managers and CEOs tend to have. It is time that praise be used as a way to emotionally satisfy employees for their efforts and hard work to boost morale and productivity. When workers are appreciated for their work, it is more likely to imbue a sense of purpose within them and allow them to associate their work with a strong sense of ownership and commitment.

Highlighting core strengths Another way businesses can use positive psychology to their advantage is by effectively utilizing their human resources according to their core strengths. Gallup surveys of 30 years have highlighted that the characteristic of successful companies is that employees feel confident in doing their task to the best of their ability.

This can factor into effective HR hiring and training practices where candidates can be asked to reveal their key strengths.  They are then assigned positions in businesses which make effective use of their core competencies. When the right match is made between an employee’s strength and the job description, the overall organization will be very productive and efficient.

I believe that positive psychology is critically important in building a sustainable culture in a disrupted world. Positive psychology is rooted in being empathetic to everyone you meet. As teams seek to drive high performance, increase revenues, and leverage the talents of brilliant men and women, it’s imperative to be kind to one another. Implementing any of these four suggestions will ensure that you leave a positive imprint on everyone that you meet.

Live Brilliantly!