“You’ve tried incentives. You’ve sought employee feedback. You’ve had expensive consultants come over. But the participation rates in your wellness program are stagnating, and health care costs are still trending upwards. What’s a wellness manager to do? Think you’ve tried everything? Now try something that works.” ~ MJ
Last Friday was the publication day for a book that we wish we’d written ourselves. Profit from the Positive is by 2 of our friends and colleagues, Margaret Greenberg and Senia Maymin. It lays out in engaging and easily implementable terms some of the major themes of positive workplaces.
“A positive work climate is the first step in any sound corporate wellness program. Without it, no one feels safe taking advantage of the wellness opportunities that are offered. They are too scared that they will look like they are slacking off.” ~ MJ
If your health promotion programs haven’t taken off as hoped, this book has many suggestions that will help you make your workplace safe enough for people to take advantage of what you offer.
“Over my career at IBM, I observed that at some points I was a mediocre performer, getting through each day and leaving with relief. At other points, I was an outstanding performer, bubbling with ideas, inspiring others to perform at their best, and hardly able to put my work down when it was time to go home. Same person, same company, completely different levels of contribution.” ~ Kathryn
What were the key factors that explain the difference for Kathryn? Probably her level of trust in her manager, her level of excitement about the work, how closely it matched her own particular blend of strengths, whether she believed her contribution made a difference in the world, and her relationships with peers.
As Margaret and Senia explain in Profit from the Positive, a manager can intentionally influence if not directly shape all of these key factors. Look around you. You may see some examples in your workplace.
“I remember one manager who met with me every second week to collaborate on determining my top priorities even though I had reached a level by then where most managers would have left me alone. Another manager ended every meeting with a joke so that the group would leave the room laughing, a great example of the peak-end rule for meetings that Margaret and Senia describe. A third great manager ended every meeting with a round of gratitude, asking everyone to thank someone else in the room for something he or she had done. It may have felt slightly unnatural at first, but after a while, it helped us all pay more attention to what each of us contributed.” ~ Kathryn
Not Just for Managers
Profit from the Positive describes numerous effective ways to manage people well, including ways to manage energy, not just time, ways to augment autonomy, ways to build resilience, ways to run inspiring meetings, and ways to bring out the best in people. There are even ways to run performance reviews so that they energize people rather than leaving them feel judged and found wanting.
But their advice isn’t just for managers. We all manage our own lives at work, and every one of us has an impact on the way our organizations function. We can all learn ways to shape our work experiences to keep our energy high and take full advantage of our own strengths and those of our teammates. Who couldn’t use the section titled Work Less, Accomplish More (which by the way recommends our own book, Smarts and Stamina, as a complementary reading)?
Increasing positivity at work is an important first step toward building a culture of health and wellness. It’s a step that is within reach for all of us.
Practicing ways to bring out the positive in an organization can become a competitive advantage for the entire business. We recommend getting a copy and offering one to your manager or a colleague, who can then be your buddy in firing up a culture of wellness. In case you’d like a taste before you buy, check out some of the articles Margaret and Senia wrote for PositivePsychologyNews.com while they were working on their book.
Want a chance to win a free copy? Use the comment section below or the one on our Facebook page to tell us why you’d like to use this book. We’ll draw a winner from all the comments received.