‘Positive psychology’ and resilience in the workplace

Following attendance at a conference on Positive Psychology in London, Simon Devlin, MD of Full Circle reflects on its implications for our workplaces.  Global expert speakers shared their views on how world-class organisations are seeking to create the conditions for all of their people to flourish. In this blog Simon reflects on the subject of resilience.

“One of the recurrent themes was the importance of resilience in business – whilst cynics may say that ‘resilience’ is simply the latest ‘flavour of the month.’  In reality, resilience is a psychological skill that helps the individual to cope with stress, challenges and difficult events – and to bounce back in the face of adversities.

If we accept that resilience is ‘a skill’ as opposed to an attribute, by extension resilience can be ‘learnt’ – a recent study by the Danish Royal Guard whose troops have played a key role in Afghanistan in recent years, showed that 10% of all deployed troops have suffered from PTSD and / or depression as a direct result. Through the introduction of a bespoke positive psychology program, however,  clinical symptoms of distress declined markedly, there was greater optimism across the intervention group in terms of hopes and plans for the future; greater capacity for flexible thinking and greater use of constructive coping strategies.

The heightened level of general well-being that was measured through the Danish study highlighted the positive impact of the program in terms of higher performance levels, enhanced team-working and greater productivity.

Whilst most of us work in less harsh environments, a growing number of people experience work-related stress, leading to depression and anxiety disorders. Typical stressors at work are increased workload, fewer resources, organisational change and poor leadership. Whilst none of these can equate to the traumas that may arise through a military deployment in Afghanistan, the bottom line is that happy people who are ‘bought into’ the ethos, goals and strategic priorities of their employing organisation will inevitably take more pride in their work, contribute more and go the extra mile, where required – and still come to work with a smile on their faces.”

Full Potential is a division of Full Circle and works with employers in order to optimise the performance of their organisation through a range of personal, management and leadership development interventions. Feel free to contact us on 02890 691027 / simon@fullcircle.eu.com for more details.

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