Work Institutions, Leadership, and Culture

Work, leadership, institutions and culture are interrelated and integral to positive psychology. All people tend to identify themselves with work. People even introduce other people, such as: “She is Mary, a psychologist.”. If people do not work and do not make money, their self-esteem decreases. Work adds or does not add purpose to life. Work, whether it is paid or not, is a big part of life. Even if people were financially free, people would still do something with their time, after getting all the fun and travel out of their system. Therefore, happiness at work transfers and contributes to people’s life happiness. Work naturally shapes people’s network or circle of influence, as humans like to group up with people who share commonalities with their work, industry, and professional experiences.

Furthermore, studies show that satisfied workers have higher work titles than unsatisfied workers. Employers like high energy workers as they are effective, accomplish tasks in less time and do not use sick days. Most coaches agree with Myers’ findings, as they see these results in the organizational coaching they conduct. Workers, who live chaos free, stay organized, accomplish tasks in less time than workers who are not disciplined, and are chaotic. Everyone can think of a time when she or he has become overwhelmed, as a result of too much work, and cannot function and think intelligently. Individuals can also think of times when they were not stimulated at work;, their work was repetitive and meaningless. Studies have shown that the workers who thrive, are the ones who are continuously challenged in meaningful ways, so work can become fun and play.

Karl Marx pointed out the importance of self-expressing yourself at work, for work satisfaction. Also, there has to be value in what people do. All jobs are necessary and each person needs others to be able to work and live. A vital skill is being able to transform perceived threats into healthy challenges. Another way for work and life happiness is to live intentionally and take charge, versus reacting to what the Universe may bring us. It is important to set intentions. Wellness overall depends on mindful challenges.

In addition, using the principles of Positive Psychology, people can design positive intervention to achieve goals, including work and organizational goals. The success of workers depends on motivation and maximizing own potentials. People accept changes conditionally, depending if it makes sense to them. Gradual changes are more successful than drastic changes (Aspinwall and Staudinger 2003). Often people who implement changes have little understanding of psychology, and, if they did, not only changes would happen more smoothly, but organizations overall would be more profitable. It is the duty of psychologists to educate organizations about the psychological principles governing companies that are made by people!

Politics, economics and society as a whole, need psychology as well. Aspinwall and Staudinger encourage the introduction of science markets, where psychologists bridge other -non psychologist- professionals and psychology. This way, solutions could be formulated together, thanks to psychologists offering their research findings. Once the solutions are found, then social engineers would carry them out. Positive Psychology has the power to optimize processes and services.

Also, it is crucial that people are utilized for their strengths for their own benefit and the benefit of society overall. When people utilize their own strengths, they become intrinsically happy and optimistic. Positive Psychology involves positive emotions, positive people’s traits and positive institutions, such as work, leadership, and culture.

Besides, more and more scholarly articles stress the importance of happiness at work and slowly but surely more organizations are realizing it and make it their goal and mission with employees. To create positive institutions, it is important not to keep secrets, following a mission and have effective conflict resolutions skills. According to Seligman, there are five traits to positive institutions: continue growing, CEO modeled, being bigger than its sums of the parts, empowering to make decisions, and being clear with the mission or purpose. Positive leaders create positive companies and institutions. Positive leaders understand the power of finding meaning in work, the power of recognizing worker’s successes all throughout and giving their power to others.

Again, positively and positive energy is contagious, because, from a quantum physics perspective, everything is energy. Therefore, people tend to gravitate towards other positive people, positive leaders, positive teams, institutions and positive cultures. The proposed model to link positive psychology and business, to make businesses successful and sustainable, is to center them around the VIA Human Strengths. Institutions or organizations are seen as micro-society and micro-communities that expand outward. Coming from strength or love, versus lack or fear, always produces far better results and outcomes. Change is about strength. All of these principles could be summarized by saying that it’s best to see, focus on and bring out the best in people. Again, these principles are true across different cultures worldwide.

Finally, Positive Psychology may be confused with self-help. It is not, as it is solely based on solid research finding, that back up any thought or hypothesis. According to Positive Psychology research, the most effective and authentic leadership shares the same values and happiness. The most rewarding work lies into sharing the same organizational culture. Positive leaders’ expectations of selves are the same, or congruent with their expectations for the other workers. Similarly, leaders who understand positive psychology are well positioned to create optimism, positive change and positive organizational culture.

Aspinwall, G., L. and Staudinger, U., M. (2003), A Psychology of Human Strengths, APA, 149-164.

Article Source: