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Bringing positive psychology to the workplace
Illustration by Justin Alm

3 min read

Bringing positive psychology to the workplace

Five insightful ideas for inserting positivity into your workplace from Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, Dr. Marla Gottschalk.

All the efforts we collectively invest in boosting employee engagement are to achieve happy workplaces. If we can deliver that, both engagement and productivity will soar. But getting there takes more than fun and jokes. It requires a deep understanding of how people at work behave, and what they need.

As I’ve worked to capture the ingredients necessary to create positive workplaces in Jostle’s People Engagement®️ platform, I’ve cultivated a rewarding dialog with Dr. Marla Gottschalk. She brings the deep insights of an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist to the table. As Marla says, “a positive mindset can not only affect our attitudes toward work, but the outcomes which follow”.

The roots of the relationship between employee happiness and engagement lie in positive psychology. In the following post from her blog, Marla distills five insightful ideas for inserting positivity into your workplace. One of her ideas is to “share someone’s work”, so here we go…

5 ideas to improve employee engagement today

By Dr. Marla Gottschalk | originally posted here

I’ve been reading a lot of James Altucher’s work lately. I’ve tried previously to connect with his posts, with little success. However, this time around his advice resonated. In one recent post, he posed a challenge to think of 10 ideas a day. Granted — he issued a warning that this exercise is more difficult than it seems. However, it’s pretty clear that flexing this skill is good for all of us.

His advice: “One thing to try is to write down 10 ideas a day. This exercises the idea muscle and gets you 100x more creative than the average person over time. They could be business ideas, ideas to help other businesses, book ideas, or even ideas to surprise your spouse.”

So, I have ideas — and thought I might offer a few suggestions on how to affect the less than stellar engagement levels in our today’s workplaces.

Unfortunately, I don’t have 10 ideas. However, I have 5.

So — I’ll begin there:

  1. Show gratitude. We talk endlessly about this, however there remains a huge gratitude “deficit” within organizations today. So — send 5 emails thanking others for whatever makes them great to work with. If you don’t work with 5 people — send a couple of notes to your friends. Just tell them why you think they are great.
  2. Share someone’s work. If you feel someone’s work is exceptional, pass it on and help it get noticed. Share a presentation. Re-tweet a post. Let others know. Be someone’s champion. It just feels good.
  3. Talk about purpose. It’s difficult to think your job matters if you don’t see a connection between who you are and the organization’s goals. Help someone see the connection between their career purpose and their work. This can make a huge difference.
  4. Build resilience. There are so many situations that feel like failure — and it can seem as if we’ll never bounce back. If a co-worker has had a setback, offer them avenues to regain their mojo. (It’s better to say something, than nothing at all.) Remember, the next time they attempt to tackle that challenge, just may be the time they succeed.
  5. Build solid ground. If you manage others, focus on neglected workplace elements that can create a solid foundation. Constructs such as psychological safety can help others feel freer to take risks and do their best work.

You can read more about Positive Psychology here. I believe its principles can affect engagement.

Meanwhile — start a movement within your organization.

If you're looking for practical worksheets and activities to help bring positive psychology to your workplace, check out this excellent article by the team at PositivePsychology.

About Dr. Marla Gottschalk

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is the Director of Organizational Development at Allied Talent. A charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program, her posts on workplace topics have appeared in Forbes, The Huffington Post, US News & World Report, and The World Economic Forum.

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