Positive Psychology: 5 Strategies for Improving Your Workplace

Janelle Jackiw

positive psychology, leadership, management, workplace culture, employees, staff, workplace, self-care, gratitude

I’ve been looking forward to Monday all weekend!

Although this may seem like an unlikely statement to some leaders, with the right strategies applied to your workplace, you can create a productive environment where people want to work. This can be achieved by applying the concepts of positive psychology to your workplace.

Think of positive psychology as the science of happiness – it focuses on what works rather than what doesn’t. Rather than focusing on the stress, burnout, or frustration of a workplace, positive psychology shifts the focus. It looks at opportunities to build workplace cultures where employees are happier, more productive, more creative, and, as a result, more profitable.

The following five strategies can help you create an enjoyable work environment where employees are happy and motivated:

1. Express gratitude and appreciation.

“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” —Margaret Cousins

Research has consistently shown that employees will work harder and produce better results when they are recognized and appreciated for the work they do. Take time to notice what or who is working well in your workplace and then create space in the day to visit them or send an email or personal message thanking them for their efforts.

2. Embrace Creativity and Innovation.

“When you are faced with something you want to accomplish, are you outstanding at finding novel yet appropriate ideas to reach that goal?” Seligman, 2002

Valuing creativity and the search for innovative solutions is what allows business to be competitive and sets them apart. You can encourage creativity and innovation by doing the following:

  • First, start by asking each employee to come up with one new or unique idea that they can bring to the project/initiative/problem.
  • Second, let go of the idea that you have to have a perfect result right away – creativity takes time, so be patient with the process.
  • Third, incorporate the practice of mindfulness into the workplace. Engaging in mindfulness regularly allows individuals to enjoy the process of being creative rather than just focusing on the desired end result.
In order for a workplace to thrive, its employees need to know how they fit and what they contribute to the big picture.

3. Connect through mentorship.

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” —Oprah Winfrey 

Everyone can benefit from mentoring, regardless of status, position, or level of expertise. The biggest benefit comes from establishing a formal mentorship process where scheduled time, prepared questions, and engagement in activities offer room for personal growth and development, as well as the opportunity to be vulnerable in a safe space. Overall, the importance of relationships and connections for people – individually and collectively – builds a foundation for an inspiring, creative, and professional life for the person and the workplace community in which they engage.

4. Build resilience.

“It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

One of the more popular topics in positive psychology, both in the field itself and in workplace success, is the concept of resilience. Four key qualities of resilient employees which can contribute to the success of your business are:

  • The capacity to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out
  • Having a positive view of themselves and confidence in their strengths and abilities
  • Enhanced skills in communication and problem-solving
  • The capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses.

Overall, supporting individuals when they experience setbacks and helping them develop the skills to move through these situations with courage and confidence allows for resilience to be developed and enhanced.

5. Instill purpose.

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Why do you do what you do? In order for a workplace to thrive, its employees need to know how they fit and what they contribute to the big picture. This means ensuring employees know the value they add in achieving goals and outcomes, having personal hope for the future, and understanding how their work contributes to the betterment of customers, clients, or stakeholders.

If you pay attention to these practices, you will have a workplace where employees want to invest their time, feel motivated, and ultimately contribute to the betterment of the organization.


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Author: Janelle Jackiw
Trainer, ACHIEVE Centre for Leadership

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