Positive psychology is known to improve performance through its ability to reduce stress.
Research and experience tells us that a sense of control over our lives and work is important for well-being, while an absence of it results in anxiety, depression and poorer performance. Yet a Psychology Today survey found that 68% of employees are “highly stressed, extremely fatigued and feel out of control”, and a further 27% have “constant but manageable” stress. The most common causes are uncertainty, workload and people issues. These levels of stress tell on businesses, with 44% of workers saying that “it costs them at least an hour of productivity a day”.
If our goal is to reduce stress and improve productivity, then it follows that we can do so by enhancing the positive attributes that employees have to achieve this. Findings from positive psychology research identify factors such as character strengths, optimism and resilience playing significant roles in how those goals are achieved.
In Human Resource Management Athey et al demonstrate how “psychological capital (the positive resources of efficacy, hope, optimism, and resilience) is “key to better understanding the variation in perceived symptoms of stress”. Further, professor Neil Frude finds evidence showing “a strong relationship between employee happiness and a workforce that is productive, creative, and flourishing”.
The role of Positive Psychology
Positive psychology shows leaders how to focus on employee strengths and help them become “better self-managers, maintaining a cheerful, positive and optimistic attitude regardless of what is happening” says Jill Hamburg Coplan in Business Week.
By emphasizing talent and fulfillment and developing psychological capital, positive psychology also reduces barriers and negative emotions. To quote professor Frude again, positive psychology’s “meteoric rise in popularity has much to do with its ability to help organizations understand how they can and should invest as much in their psychological and emotional balance sheet as they do in their financial balance sheet”.
Caher Consultancy can help you to use positive psychology to benefit your workplace.