In the last article we have introduced you to the terminology of New Leadership; which basically means to transform your organization into New Work. And New Work is required to become more employee centric especially in times of talent war to find and retain high potentials in your organization.
In this article we want to explain why New Leadership is actually Positive Leadership – which means that leaders apply positive psychology principles in their daily lives.
What is Positive Psychology?
Positive psychology is a research field in psychology that was established around 20 years ago with Martin Seligmen – the founder of positive psychology. Instead of treating people’s mental malaise with medication and therapies to overcome the patient’s weaknesses and deficits with patience, he claimed to work rather with strengths and positivity.
Along with Martin Seligmen, many other researchers such as Barbara Fredrickson, Carol Dweck or Adam Grant have complemented the research field with the conclusion that 6 important life pillars help people to feel constantly well and enables them to overcome any challenges in a resilient way. In the original framework these six aspects are defined as PERMA-V – but since these six aspects build on each other, we rather name them in the following chronology: Sleep, Smile, Flow – Pray, Love, Achieve!
- SLEEP – stands for the V- your physical vitality: In the newest research combined with physicians it became clear that a positive mind needs a healthy body with sufficient sleep, micronutrients, dietary and physical exercise. If the body does not feel well, it has a huge impact on the mind; if the mind is not positive, it also has a huge impact on the body.
- SMILE – stands for the P – positive emotions: researchers found out that it is your personal choice to be positive during the day. A lot of bad things can happen during one day – but it is your personal choice if you see them negative or positive – this means you can influence how you perceive the world. Developing positive thoughts is a mental strength, especially in difficult times, and it helps physically also to keep your cortisol levels healthy.
- FLOW – stands for the E – engagement: things that we don’t like do not become our strengths as we do not exercise these enough. Flow means to work with tasks where you are focused, inspired and creative – this means subsequently working with your strengths.
- PRAY – stands for the M – meaning: We get only satisfied and fulfilled if we have a higher purpose. Simon Sinek would call it the WHY – why we get up in the morning and why we do things. Having a strong purpose helps us to get endurance to implement our vision
- LOVE – stands for the R – positive relationship: It is very important to have a personal support system -a network of good friends, family and mentors that cheer us up and that support us especially in difficult times. On the other hand it is also very fulfilling to support friends in their difficult times since this develops serotonin in our brains.
- ACHIEVE – stands for the A – achievements: Having all the five pillars in balance helps us to achieve the objectives and goals we have set for ourselves and helps us to develop a growth mindset to achieve our objectives even through a plan B.
Positive psychology teaches meditation, mindful exercises and interventions to develop these six pillars equally.
What is positive leadership?
These definitions sound very strongly like good frameworks for therapists to treat depression and other mental malaise. We thought so too – but actually if you want to become a New Leader, all six aspects are more than important to get a healthy balance of the YIN energy – to restore and recover to achieve the YAN – to get things done.
Traditional leaders need to achieve results – the YAN – and very often we only achieve results – but without recovering mentally and physically. This constant high performance can result in a burn out or physical fatigue.
We don’t want that every leader is going every three years to a 3-months sabbatical – we can’t afford this, since we need relevant key people in our organization to deliver innovation and results to grow our business. But what we can ask our leaders is to perform on a daily basis in a balanced way – which means to work with the five pillars of YIN energy – to restore and recover and to work in a very focused way with our YANG energy to achieve high performance results.
So the six aspects from positive psychology can be applied to New Leaders as following:
- Sleep – vitality: A healthy body fosters a healthy mind – help yourself and your team to get enough physical balance with sleep, nutritions and recovery time
- Smile – positive emotions: Start to think positively and get positive on daily basis. This tints immediately your team’s state of mind and provides an atmosphere where people feel psychologically safe to become innovative and creative
- Flow – engagement: Especially as a leader – become aware of your strengths and delegate things you are not good at – to people that have these strengths. Becoming strengths’ focused as a leader means to also show weaknesses and empower people in your team to take over responsibility
- Pray – Meaning: Develop for yourself and your team a higher purpose – a way we get up every morning beyond the purpose to make money
- Love – positive relationships: Create teams that invite relatedness and where people can be authentic and included. Allow also your employees to build-up relationships outside of your team bubble to get more support from people around your team
- Achieve: Become good at setting the right goals in alignment with your strategy and invite your team members to set continuously their own Objectives and Key Results
What are the benefits of Positive Leadership?
There has also arisen a more detailed German-speaking research around Markus Ebner and the “German Institute for positive psychology” around Judith Mangelsdorf which also helps to make positive psychology more accessible for leadership coaching.
Researchers such as Jens Altleben researched the benefits of organizations to apply positive versus traditional leadership styles and the following benefits measurably:
- 81% of less absenteeism due to sickness
- 18% less employee turnover for high turnover organizations
- 43% less employee turnover for low turnover organizations
- 10% increased customer loyalty
- 18% increased sales productivity
- 14% increased operational productivity
- 23% increase in profitability
- 66% increase in employee wellbeing
- 13% increase in organizational citizenship – employee participation
Unfortunately, we have yet not conducted a study during our coaching assignments – but we got the same feedback from the leaders we coached and trained towards positive psychology:
- We are more productive
- We can achieve results with less wasted time (increased profitability)
- We have more wellbeing in our organization
- We have more corporate citizenship in our organization and hence, our vision is implemented.
These benefits are enormous – do you also want to achieve these benefits? Get in touch with us to learn how you can become a positive leader.
You can watch our YouTube video on Positive Leadership below:
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See you next Sunday!
Your Amaze Growth Team