An article in the Harvard Business Review tells us that researchers at the University of Michigan have discovered a way to improve employee performance without increasing perks, benefits, or deploying new processes. They call this new approach “positive and virtuous practices”
The benefits of these new practices increase positive emotions, amplifying creativity, and bringing out the best in people. They provide a buffer against stress, improving employees’ ability to bounce back from setbacks. And they attract new employees and bolster existing ones, increasing loyalty to the firm.
The are four main ways to achieve these results (leadership, culture, retreats / workshops, and moving forward one small step at a time). There are also six guiding principles:
- Care for, be interested in, and maintain responsibility for colleagues as people (7)
- Provide support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling (7)
- Avoid blame and forgive mistakes (2)
- Inspire one another at work (6)
- Emphasise the meaningfulness of the work (4, 5)
- Treat one another with respect, gratitude, trust & integrity. (7)
The numbers in brackets show which chapters of Inner Leadership cover these topics.
Some specific practices seem almost trivial: “Tell people three things you value about them. Positively embarrass someone each day. Keep gratitude journals.” But point is, they work: companies that carried out these practices noticed visible performance improvements within weeks and months.
Inner Leadership provides tools that enable you to implement all of these practices and more. It shows you how to find and develop inspiration and emotional engagement in the business.
And we would add one more key skill to this list: learning to see challenges as opportunities. This improves morale and also increases your range of options moving forward. It is covered as part of Chapter 3.