Smarter ways to boost confidence at work

A healthy level of self-esteem helps people take on challenging projects, leap outside their comfort zones and achieve goals. If you’ve read ‘How high is your self-esteem?‘, you know there are four behaviours that show an employee has (appropriately) high self-esteem.

  • Communicating your needs
  • Saying no assertively
  • Recognising and accepting your strengths
  • Putting negative experiences into perspective

So now let’s take our investigation of self-esteem a step further. How can you, as an HR practitioner or L&D practitioner, nurture your own self-esteem?

Read more

Perform at your best: get into flow

Athletes call it being in the zone. Artists call it being inspired. Jazz musicians call it being in the groove. In positive psychology, it’s called a flow state. When you’re in flow, you are fully absorbed and focused. Your attention is on the task at hand and everything else fades out of awareness. And it’s highly likely you’re performing at your peak.

In his book Flow, psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes the flow state as an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.” Anyone can access a flow state. There are eight factors that can help you do it.

Read more

Teach optimism like any other skill

If you want your people to be more optimistic, you might need to teach them how. In a previous post Switch on your optimistic brain today, I explained four evidence-based techniques for promoting optimistic thinking. These were:

  • Keeping a gratitude journal
  • Taking on a curiosity mindset
  • Being mindful of the language you use
  • Leaving the past in the past

For HR and L&D professionals, these tips might seem easy to apply. However, many employees lack the basic foundation skills for being able to action these techniques, which are based on sophisticated research. So you can make a huge difference to the emotional lives of your employees by actively promoting the fact that optimism can be learned, just like any other cognitive skill. Here are some ways you can help people learn to be optimistic at work.

Read more

How high is your self-esteem?

Do you treat yourself with compassion and nurturing care? Or are you too hard on yourself? Your answer links back to your self-esteem

Self-esteem is your confidence in your own worth, and the value you place on yourself. In the 1950s, Carl Rogers developed a model of self-esteem that is useful to this day. He said that self-esteem measures how much the person you want to be (your ideal self) aligns with who you believe you are (self-image).

So, how well does your ideal self-align with your self-image? Let’s find out. Here are four behaviours that indicate you have appropriate levels of self-esteem.

Read more

Chocolate-free ways to promote positive emotions at work

Employees who come into work feeling negative find it hard to be creative, their interactions with colleagues are strained and productivity is low. But when they come into work with positivity, they see possibilities and opportunities everywhere. This is why Human Resources teams need to take feelings seriously.

In Four surprising benefits of positive emotions, I explained that positive emotions play a huge role in human survival. This is because:

  • Unpleasant emotions help people survive, but they also limit their thought-action repertoires
  • Positive emotions broaden the ability to think and act in new ways
  • Positive emotions help individuals build resources for dealing with tough times
  • Feeling good might contribute to longevity

In organisations, there are many additional benefits of drawing on high-energy, positive feelings. Learning and development and specialists can plan important roles in bringing these benefits to life in their organisations. Here are some tips on how to do this.

Read more

Switch on your optimistic brain today

Do you see the glass as half-empty or half-full? Are you a pessimist or an optimist? It’s a classic debate. Optimism is a ‘feeling of hopefulness and confidence about the future or the success of something.’ It’s the belief that things will turn out okay, even when you have no evidence to back it up. Compared to pessimists, people who have optimistic mindsets handle change more resiliently, report higher levels of general well-being and solve problems more creatively.

Here’s the good news: optimistic thinking patterns can be learned at any stage of your life. You can literally train your brain to look on the bright side as a default.

Read more

How to break the imposter cycle in your organisation

70% of high achievers live in persistent fear of people finding out that they “don’t have a clue” what they’re doing. Despite evidence to the contrary, such as hard-earned degrees or a proven track record, they still attribute their achievements to luck, fate or simply good timing.

If that sounds like some of your employees, they might be suffering from a condition called imposter syndrome. As an HR practitioner, you can substantially eliminate fear of failure in your organisation and open up your employees to real, lasting success. Here are some practical ways to do this.

Read more

Four surprising benefits of positive emotions

With ‘positive thinking’ being constantly touted in pop psychology, do you find yourself feeling guilty about your negative emotions? Don’t be. Your perceived ‘negative’ or uncomfortable feelings are just as important as the positive ones in helping you evaluate your experiences and make sense out of life’s complexity.

Uncomfortable emotions are often associated with a tendency to act in self-preserving ways. When you’re afraid, your tendency is to escape; when you’re angry, your tendency is to attack. In dangerous situations, this can help you survive. But here’s an interesting question: what role do positive emotions play in human survival?

Barbara Frederickson, a key researcher in the field of positive psychology, developed the ‘broaden and build’ theory, which explains how experiencing positive emotions opens you up to new experiences.

Read more

To build strong teams, find their signature strengths

Knowing what your signature strengths are, can boost your well-being – and it’s boosted even further when you regularly utilise those strengths. Leaders and managers are now regularly using character strengths exercises to help employees become more engaged, productive and happy.

In my last article Find your strengths, find inspiration for success, we discussed how to identify your signature strengths and how to work them into your day:

  • Take a signature strengths assessment
  • Use your strengths in new ways
  • Record the positive results of using signature strengths
  • Reconnect with your inner child

If you are an HR practitioner, you can use signature strengths to develop employee purpose, motivation and performance. Here are some simple steps you can take this week.

Read more

Find your strengths, find inspiration for success

Have you ever been advised to “do what you love and success will follow”? This may be more than just cliché. When you’re doing what you love, you are likely to be using your signature strengths. This means that you are not only doing what you’re good at, but you are at your happiest as well.

Positive psychologists define strengths as the things you excel at – and which energise you. Unlike skills you’ve learned or behaviours you’ve adopted, your strengths are an innate part of your psychological makeup. They make you who you are at your core.

If you want to tap into the impressive power of being strengths-focused, here are four simple steps to implement.

Read more