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WINNING OUTLOOK

Science of Positive Leadership to Create flourishing Organisations

By Vivian Alfred S

The year 2017 has kicked off with a bang, promotions, innovation and employment engagement at work has kept virtually every organisation on its toes. The optimism shown in the markets has not conciliated the lingering challenges faced by the Human Resources fraternity and employees following a year of uncertainty and precariousness.

Fiscal fragility has been witnessed in many emerging markets and the pressure on social protection systems is compounding the stress on individuals and families. How does the company look at strengthening the ecosystem as per the need of the hour? In such a scenario, it is of paramount importance for organisations to take a step ahead to establish a “Healthy” workforce in terms of its mental and physical capital focused at the overall well-being of the organisation as well the employees.

So, what does it mean to be an “employee” is this era? Today, employees have requirements which will have far reaching implications. Simultaneously, business models are adjusting to take advantage of contract or contingent workers — in part to address the talent scarcity challenges but also in response to what individuals say they want out of a job.

Executives globally recognize and accept the fact that stasis is a formidable enemy of business growth. Continuous change sustained over a definite period in business is the key to actualise business strategies and accomplish organisational vision. Therefore HR leaders have to stay in tune with the dynamic changes in the business environment so that they can act as perfect catalysts in creating and evolving solid organisational structures that can lend the right impetus to address implementation of business strategy.

With this in mind, most organisations are driving change initiatives through key leadership teams applying the theory of Positive Leadership. As organisational structure design evolves, it becomes imperative for businesses to promote a positive climate and create a “healthy” workforce. A healthy workforce means the promotion of both psychological as well as physical well-being. Organisations therefore strive to nurture positive emotions as a key constituent in the DNA of its workforce. Positive Psychology as defined by Dr. Martin Seligman, the founding father of Positive Psychology science- “Scientific study of Optimal Human functioning to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive.” In Organizations Positive psychology translates into the science of empowering people to flourish as they work and as a result of this they are able to exceed performance expectations resulting in the achievement of the organisational goals and vision.

While organisations today are driving this massive agenda of driving change, the leadership thrust on arriving at a proper mix of Hedonic and Eudaimonic well-being is its core.

Hedonic well-being is the element which focuses on maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain while creating the positive emotions of joy and satisfaction at workplace. Eudaimonic well-being at the other end of the spectrum focuses on helping the employees find a clear purpose and meaning in achieving the organisational goals while realizing their strengths and talents to their fullest potential.

As India is moving at a quick pace to be reckoned as a developed economy in the coming years, organisations which are driving change in their business processes, structures and systems are adapting their organisation structures in synchrony with their talent pool.

The structural redesign being driven from the top must therefore identify the new behaviors that are expected for the business. These adaptations of behaviors and the creation of new behaviors normally creates stress in employees while disengaging them from the organisation’s objectives. Human Resource managers add value by partnering with the line managers to align these new behaviors by identifying the basket of strengths of each employee in harmony with their talents and as a resultant effect neutralize the stress impact created by the organisational changes. This naturally results in Eudaimonic well-being, since these employees are able to unleash their strengths and talents in the new organisation structure and in the same vein derive a sense of fulfillment of purpose and meaning in whatever they are expected to do.

Having a strong decision mechanism underpinning job design has never been more critical, especially as new jobs are emerging faster than ever before. Job design is where HR managers can truly add business value.

The challenge is also to consider the job’s contribution to the creation of value in the organisation. We all know that business leaders do not have the endurance for lengthy job evaluations, so the process must be rapid, intuitive, and handy for all line managers. In contract, regular conversations about an employee’s performance and grooming talent for the future are considered to be critical for an individual’s growth and are critical for organisations long term survival. Business researcher Josh Bersin estimates that about 70% of multinational companies are moving toward this model, even if they haven’t arrived quite yet. The majority are implementing a more scientific approach to valuing contribution.

Responsible and responsive leadership was the lead topic at the 2017 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. The theme of discrimination and income discrepancy is forcing policy discussions on minimum wage and living wage and gender pay gap. It’s time to cultivate a thriving workforce, an empowered workforce that responds to the changing work landscape. This means creating an environment where each individual employee can thrive and flourish at work. So, the key is attracting and nurturing the strengths and talents of the company so that they are in sync with the organisational vision and value system. This naturally means the organisations while driving the business changes are bringing in core positive leadership traits at the top level to promote a positive work climate bringing in the right positive emotions and at the same time helping employees find clear purpose and meaning in their work by optimally utilizing their strengths and potential to their maximum best.

Echoing the positive psychology framework of Dr. Seligman, in today’s business scenario it becomes more than vital to tap into a neatly designed organisation structure that focuses on customer centricity through employee centricity. This requires employment of the right blend of Positive Emotions, Employee Engagement and Resilience at work which ultimately results in the achievement of the organisational goals as well as individual career goals.

 

Vivian Alfred S
Vice President- Human Resources
Endress+Hauser India Pvt. Ltd

Vivian, a seasoned HR professional has been building sustainable organisational capabilities to deliver business results for around 13 years in different industries and cultures. He has spent over a decade mastering HR strategies and practices in different roles, teams and business categories. He is also a Neuro Linguistic Program Master Practitioner; Success Behavior Coach and a researcher in Positive Psychology.

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