Since researchers gained ready access to MRI scanners, there’s been a revolution in the science of managing people. Most significant has been the new management science of positive psychology.
Positive Psychology is founded on the discovery that people are capable of much more than they realise. They want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives. They see more opportunities and experience more good "luck". They seek to do a good job at work - provided managers empower them to do so. Positive psychology is so much more than the wishful "positive thinking" so popular with self help "gurus. It is a scientifically validated approach to managing and empowering people for best possible performance.
Alongside this are discoveries about what turns people off. What things hijack their brains, their attention and their performance. One important consideration is the Amygdala hijack. That's when they perceive a threat ("You are weak at ...") and it triggers the flight or fight mechanism.
Both of these are things that successful 21st century managers and leaders must understand.
The human brain is 31% more productive when positive. (Shawn Achor in The Happiness Advantage), compared to negative, neutral or stressed. Positive people make quicker, more accurate decisions than those who are negative, neutral or stressed. They have greater resilience. They are more likely to succeed at whatever they are working on.
That’s not surprising. A Wall Street Journal summary of the research showed that positive staff:
Are 85% more efficient at their work and spend 65% more time feeling energised
Stay twice as long as unhappy colleagues and are ten times less likely to take sick leave
Have 50% stronger sense of achievement. They believe twice as much that they are achieving their potential, and
Identify 98% more with organisational values and are 186% more likely to recommend the organisation.
Helen is a positive person by nature. And she also practices what she preaches, observing the principles of positive psychology. She has read widely on the topic. In 2017 she completed University of California Berkeley's The Science of Happiness programme. One of her favourite pieces of advice for people who have had a negative experience is "Let's see what we can learn from this so you don't have to experience this again".
Our clients who adopt the principles of positive psychology find it life changing. Often not only for themselves, but for their family and colleagues too. And the good news is, most of the principles are straightforward and only need a few minutes each day.