The case for optimism in the workplace

Each new year dawns with a sense of optimism. Make the coming year one of daily optimism for your workplace, creating an environment that energizes employees, customers and partners.

That may seem silly, an impractical sentiment sparked by the holiday spirit. But Shawn Murphy, a Sacramento, Calif., consultant who has been carrying the positive psychology approach into his work with organizations, is finding there are huge benefits from optimism.

It’s certainly not a trivial notion. Louis (Studs) Terkel opened his classic book Working with these chilling words: “This book, being about work, is by its very nature about violence – to the spirit as well as the body.” That was 1972, but today, Mr. Murphy notes, the workplace is equally depressing, as shown by continually decreasing engagement levels and the fact that 65 per cent of employees would rather have a new boss than a pay raise.

He’s not talking about becoming an optimist rather than a realist or pessimist. He’s focused on the office environment – nurturing a general feeling among employees that something good will come out of their work. Often, managers and employees focus primarily on the bad things in the office and optimism can be boosted by also noting what’s working well.

continue reading… The Globe & Mail

by Harvey Schachter

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