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Positive psychology has turned traditional leadership metrics upside down. This new science of success examines strengths rather than weakness, celebrates failure as the path to mastery and encourages a culture of learning rather than competition. We dive into three tried and tested, evidence based kick ass positive psychology practices that will positively impact upon your leadership.

1. How Positive Psychology Can Transform Your Leadership: Mindset

Leading the way in this field is Stanford professor Carol Dweck who has devoted the last thirty years to examining the conditions that enable individuals and organisation to flourish and achieve optimal performance. Mindset is an essential element of leadership. Dweck advises that leaders examine their own mindset. Culture starts at the top and leaders modelling a growth mindset will positively impact the rest of their organisation. Not sure where you are in the mindset stakes? Take our Are you a growth mindset leader? test here and find out. Growth mindset leaders don’t obsess over there own performance, they’re too busy developing and motivating others to find a route to mastery. Dweck outlines 4 steps to growth mindset;

  • Learn from failure. Recognise that failure is part of the process and a huge part of organisational learning. Forget blame culture and see error as a step closer to the end goal. Take a leaf out of like Google’s X Lab book and learn celebrate it as such. Errors are the route to mastery.
  • Lead by example. Take on new challenges with enthusiasm and collaborate with others to share expertise and learn from each other. A growth mindset leader never hogs the spotlight or holds court with their team.
  • Rethink your perception of talent. Dweck’s research demonstrated that focusing on a handful of star performers for ‘talent management’ had a negative impact on the rest of the team. Neglect your team at your peril and recognise that everyone in your organisation possesses the potential to be a start performer.
  • Our Growth Mindset Toolkit is a great introduction to the world of growth mindset research, practical strategies and practices. Download your free copy now.

2. How Positive Psychology Can Transform Your Leadership: Strengths

Traditionally leaders have analysed weakness and attempted to shore up those areas. Research by Alex Linley demonstrated that this approach typically results in decrease in performance. The strengths model, instead identifies strengths and works from there, resulting in a bump in performance of around 29%. Where to begin? The VIA Strengths Assessment is one of our favourite strengths tools. Based at Pennsylvania University it’s a great place to start identifying the strengths within your team. Once you’ve identified those strengths you can start to leverage them to achieve positive professional outcomes rather than focusing on weakness.

3. How Positive Psychology Can Transform Your Leadership: Authenticity

Authentic leaders are self aware. They understand themselves and how they interact with others. What’s more, they’re honest and operate from a place of integrity. Popularised by the great Bill George in his 2003 book, ‘Authentic Leadership.’ George suggests that rather than trying to constantly market or project yourself as a leader (yawn) self discovery, development and transformation is a path for befitting for today’s leader. The cornerstone of authenticity is emotional intelligence. Developing self awareness is the first step. Take a look at our emotional intelligence and mindfulness resources to find out how.

Want to know more? Take a look at our 100% free resources for more insight, tips and tricks.

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