Science of Positive Leadership to Create Flourishing Organisations

April 24, 20178:22 am2078 views

The year 2017 has kicked off with a bang, promotions, innovation and employment engagement at work has kept virtually every organisation on its toes. The optimism shown in the markets has not conciliated the lingering challenges faced by the Human Resources fraternity and employees following a year of uncertainty and precariousness.

Fiscal fragility has been witnessed in many emerging markets and the pressure on social protection systems is compounding the stress on individuals and families. How does the company look at strengthening the ecosystem as per the need of the hour? In such a scenario, it is of paramount importance for organizations to take a step ahead in establish a “Healthy” workforce in terms of its mental and physical capital focused at overall well-being of the organization as well the employees.

So, what does it mean to be an “employee” is this era? Today they have far-reaching implications and requirements. Simultaneously, business models are adjusting to take advantage of contract or contingent workers — in part to address the talent scarcity challenges, but also in response to what an individual says they want out of a job.

Executives globally recognize and accept the fact that stasis is a formidable enemy of business growth. Continuous change sustained over a definite period in business is the key to actualize the business strategies and accomplish the organizational vision.

HR leaders have therefore to stay in tune with the dynamic changes in the business environment, such that they can act as perfect catalysts in creating and evolving solid organizational structures that can lend the right impetus to address the implementation of the business strategy.

With this in mind, most of the organizations are driving change initiatives through the key leadership teams applying the theory of Positive Leadership. As the organizational structure design evolves, it becomes imperative for businesses to promote a positive climate and create a “healthy” workforce. A healthy workforce means the promotion of both psychological as well as physical well-being. Organizations therefore thrive to nurture positive emotions as a key constituent in the DNA of its workforce.

Positive Psychology as defined by Dr. Martin Seligman, the founding father of Positive Psychology science- “Scientific study of “Optimal Human functioning to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive.” In organizations, positive psychology translates into the science of empowering people to flourish, as they work and as a result of this, they are able to exceed performance expectations resulting in the achievement of the organizational goals and vision.

While organizations today are driving this massive agenda of driving change, the leadership thrust on arriving at a proper mix of Hedonic and Eudaimonic well-being is at its core.  

Hedonic well-being is the element which focuses on maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain while creating positive emotions of joy and satisfaction at workplace.

While Eudaimonic well-being at the other end of the spectrum, focuses on helping employees find a clear purpose and meaning in achieving the organizational goals, while realizing their strengths and talents to the fullest potential.

See: Onboarding Senior Leadership: Things to Consider for HR Managers

As India is moving at a quick pace to be reckoned as a developed economy in the coming years, organisations that are driving change in their business processes, structures and systems are adapting their organisation structures, in sync with their talent pool.

The structural redesign being driven from the top must therefore identify the new behaviours that are expected for the business. These adaptation of behaviours and the creation of new behaviours normally creates stress in employees, while disengaging them from the organization’s objectives.

Human Resources add value by partnering with the line managers as they align these new behaviours by identifying the basket of strengths of each employee in harmony with their talents, and as a result neutralise the stress impact created by organisational changes. This naturally leads to Eudaimonic well-being, since these employees are able to unleash their strengths and talents in the new organisation structure, while deriving a sense of fulfilment of purpose, and meaning in whatever they are expected to do.

Having a strong decision mechanism, that underpins job design has never been more critical than today. Especially with new job roles emerging faster than ever before, job design is where HR can truly add business value. The challenge however here, is to also consider the job’s contribution to the creation of value in the organization.

We all know that business leaders do not have the endurance for lengthy job evaluations, so the process must be rapid, intuitive, and handy for all line managers. Regular conversations about an employee’s performance and grooming talent for the future are considered to be critical for an individual’s growth and also critical for organization’s long term survival.

Business researcher Josh Bersin estimates that, about 70% of multinational companies are moving toward this model, even if they haven’t arrived quite yet. The majority are implementing, a more scientific approach to valuing contribution.

Responsible and responsive leadership was the lead topic at the 2017 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. The theme of discrimination and income discrepancy is forcing policy discussions on minimum wage, living wage and gender pay gap. It’s time to cultivate a thriving workforce, and an empowered workforce that responds to the changing work landscape.

This means creating an environment where each employee can thrive and flourish at work.  So, the key is to attract and nurture the talented employees of the company to be in sync with the organisational vision and value system. This further means that while organisations drive business changes to influence positive leadership traits beginning from the top, thus creating a positive work environment which will employees find clear purpose and meaning in their work. This can be achieved by optimally utilising their strengths and potentials to the maximum best.

Echoing the positive psychology framework of Dr. Seligman, in today’s business scenario it becomes more than vital to tap into a neatly designed organisation structure, that focuses on customer centricity by treating every employee as their prospective new customer. This requires employment of the right blend of positive emotions, employee engagement, resilience, and meaning at work, which ultimately results in achievement of company goals and individual career goals as well.

Author credit:

Vivian Alfred S, Vice President- Human Resources, Endress+Hauser India Pvt. Ltd

Vivian Alfred S, Vice President- Human Resources, Endress+Hauser India Pvt. Ltd

Vivian is a seasoned HR professional who has been building sustainable organizational capabilities to deliver business results for around 13 years in different industries and cultures. He has spent over a decade mastering HR strategies and practices in different roles, teams and business categories. He is also a Neuro Linguistic Program Master Practitioner; Success Behavior Coach and a researcher in Positive Psychology.

Also read: What Do Gen X, Y and Z Think About Future Leadership?

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