In past communication, I have likened the months of April, May, and June to a Marathon sprint with high hurdles. You start the race after spring break and then just keep running until the June finish line! Resilience, pacing, and the ability even in the face of adversity, to pick yourself up and keep going are necessary traits. I always told my school family that if you truly remembered what April, May and June were like at school, no one would do the work! As positive servant leaders, we always focus on what we can do to improve or get better at the next time and thankfully suffer a bit of amnesia, too!
A key finding from the research of Kim Cameron, a Professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and co-founder of the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship supports that a focus on the positive produces the heliotropic effect. This effect is defined as the tendency in all living systems toward that which gives life and away from that which depletes life—toward positive energy and away from negative energy.
A leader’s positive outlook builds and strengthens a team more than a focus on negative traits. According to Cameron, research on “positive energizers” vs “negative energizers” reveals that it is a learned trait, not just what our personality inventory reveals as either an extrovert or introvert! Positive energizers support, strengthen, and leave people uplifted. Negative energizers, deplete energy in others and leave people exhausted and diminished.
Further, researchers have found that those who positively energize others are higher performers, enhance the work of others and those who interact with or are connected to energizers also perform better(Baker, 2003) More reason to see things in a positive light, with a focus not on problems but opportunities. To be part of the solution and not part of the problem!
Consider this information about capitalizing on strengths from the Gallup organization:
- Identifying people’s strengths (and what they do right) and building on them creates more benefit than identifying weaknesses (or what they do wrong) and trying to correct them.
- Managers who spend more time with their strongest performers (rather than the weakest performers) achieved double the productivity.
- In organizations where workers have a chance to “do what they do best everyday,” productivity is one and a half times greater than in normal organizations.
- People who are given feedback on their strengths are significantly more likely to feel highly engaged and to be more productive than people who are given feedback on their weaknesses.
- Students who are given feedback on their talents have fewer days of absenteeism, less tardiness, and higher GPA’s than students who get no feedback on their talents.
- Just smile and everything will be fine
- Make sure you only give praise
- Make sure everyone gets a blue ribbon
- Never criticize your people
- Don’t worry about problems and obstacles
- Just be enthusiastic
- Inducing positive states has significant impact on: --Physical health – Mental health – Brain activity – Social relationships --Work productivity and – Life expectancy
- In other words, the heliotropic effect exists!
- Capitalize on the heliotropic effect. How can you positively embarrass someone?
- Foster positive energy. How can you advocate for or nurture just one person?
- Focus on abundance! People get consumed by problems and obstacles. How can you see the strengths of a person in a new way?
- Celebrate what goes right. Problems usually dominate our attention. How can you focus on gratitude via notes and or keeping a journal?
- People work harder.
- People perform better on the job.
- People display more mental acuity.
- People make higher quality decisions.
- People are more creative and more flexible in their thinking.
- People are more adaptive and resilient after trials and trauma.
- People engage in more helping behaviors and citizenship activities.