3 Tips to Leverage Positive Psychology at Work

by May 4, 2023

In the world of traditional thinking, the notion that success leads to happiness is a commonly held belief. We’re taught that if we work hard and achieve our goals, then we’ll be happy. However, research in positive psychology has revealed a new perspective: happiness is actually a precursor to success. When we prioritize happiness we’re more productive, creative, and engaged, which increases our chances of success. In turn, success might lead to more happiness.

But who says work has to be a daily grind? We spend so much of our lives at work that it’s essential to create a positive environment where people feel happy, supported, and fulfilled. That’s where positive psychology comes in. By emphasizing positive emotions, meaningful relationships, and personal strengths, leaders can cultivate a culture of positivity that benefits everyone involved.


How To Leverage Positive Psychology At Work

With positive psychology, you’ve got the key to unlocking a world of happy, thriving employees. As an HR professional or organizational leader, you have the power to leverage it! Here are a few tips to get you started:


Emphasize strengths

Encourage your team to focus on their strengths. Rather than obsessing over what they can’t do, help them see what they’re amazing at. When people feel confident in their abilities, they’re more likely to take on new challenges and grow.

Take, for instance, a team member who’s a master at creative problem-solving but gets a bit tongue-tied when speaking in public. Instead of sending them off to public speaking boot camp, try giving them tasks that play to their strengths. Maybe they could lead brainstorming sessions or spearhead a project that involves coming up with innovative solutions to a problem. This helps them feel more fulfilled in their work and boosts their confidence. Plus, who knows? They might even surprise you and become a rockstar public speaker!


Foster positive emotions

When individuals experience positive emotions, they are more productive, creative, and motivated. As a result, it’s essential for managers and HR professionals to create a positive workplace environment that encourages positive emotions among employees. This can be through:

  • Showing appreciation for their work
  • Get your team bonding through team-building activities
  • Incorporating humor and lightheartedness
  • Encouraging social connections and relationships among employees, both in and outside of work
  • Creating a psychologically safe environment
  • Providing resources and support for mental health and well-being

In addition, providing training programs for stress management and resilience can help employees find purpose and progress. With our training programs, your team can contribute to a positive and healthy work culture. The more tools and practice you provide your employees, the better equipped they are to make a positive difference in your work environment!


Instill Purpose and Meaning

When employees understand the purpose and meaning of their work, it can increase their sense of fulfillment, motivation, and overall well-being. It can be done through:

  • Communicating the organization’s mission, vision, and core values clearly
  • Helping employees understand how their work contributes to the organization’s goals
  • Encouraging employees to connect their personal values with the organization’s values
  • Providing opportunities for employees to engage in meaningful work that aligns with their interests and strengths
  • Recognizing and celebrating employees’ contributions to the organization’s mission, vision, and core values.


Bonus Team Exercise to Build Positivity

In one of my favorite books, Positive Leadership, author Kim Cameron offers up a cool exercise he calls the “best self exercise.” Each team member is asked to think of a characteristic they are thankful for in each of the other team members, and to send it back to you, the manager. The manager then compiles a list for each individual and shares it publicly in a meeting. 

For example, people on my Civility Partners team might say about Jenny (who wrote most of this blog) that she is reliable, kind, persistent, and calm when the rest of us are feeling overwhelmed. People might say Rebecca is great at details, organization, and keeping things fun. At a meeting, I’d share these things out loud so each person can get some acknowledgement for their hard work. 

When you put these strategies into practice, you’ll be amazed at how your workplace transforms. It’ll be like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, but instead of a butterfly, it’ll be a team of highly motivated and engaged employees! And who doesn’t want a workforce that’s buzzing with energy, ideas, and enthusiasm? So go ahead and give positive psychology a shot, and let’s turn that dull office into a place that everyone is excited to come to!

If you’re looking for additional support, you can book a Culture Change Consultation with us to help you assess your current culture and develop strategies to create a more purpose-driven and engaged workforce. With our expertise and guidance, you can create a workplace where employees feel valued, motivated, and fulfilled in their roles.



Catherine, Jenny, & The Civility Partners Team

Civility is the platform for organizational success—it is absolutely necessary for an organization to reach its goals. Download our Ebook on Seeking Civility to learn more on how to create a workplace free of bullying and abusive conduct.


About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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