I’ve never been afraid of “Plan B”.
You know, the plan that is implemented after “Plan A” goes down in a fiery ball of flames. I have my first two bosses to thank for this perspective. Starting out in customer research, “Plan B” was certainly a lesson I learned rather quickly. Samples were never how I envisioned them. Implementation was never perfect. The results that followed? There was always some sort of surprise — a “twist” — so to speak.
How can we handle the inevitable imperfections that are a reality of our everyday work lives? How can leaders help us face the challenges that inevitably occur? During these quickly evolving these and unpredictable times, that is the question of the moment. The answer? This may relate to the level of positivity that our leaders possess and the behaviors they model for us. My first supervisor, for example, never flinched when a concern was raised. She simply listened and helped me work through the issues confidently. No drama. Just focus.
As it turns out, a leader’s expression of positivity could be one key to the psychological well-being of their followers — and the performance outcomes which follow. (A clear expression of hope and resilience, for example.) Recent research examining the construct of leader Psychological Capital, is elucidating the power of this connection.
Psychological Capital (PsyCap) is construct composed of four well researched psychological resources (the HERO resources) as follows:
The HERO resources:
- Hope. A belief in the ability to persevere toward goals and find alternative paths to reach them.
- Efficacy. The confidence that one can put forth the effort to affect outcomes.
- Resilience. The ability to bounce back in the face of adversity or failure.
- Optimism. A generally positive view of work and the potential of success.
In reality, those who lead or manage others possess varying levels of Psychological Capital — and the outward expression of those resources can change how we view (and process) the challenges we face in our work lives. Without this psychological support, failure can be just a failure. Not an opportunity to learn a few things and move forward feeling empowered.
So for what it is worth — thank you Marty and Elyse. Great bosses are worth their weight in gold.
What do you think? Does a leader’s level of positivity impact the workplace? Share your thoughts here.
Dr. Marla Gottschalk is a Workplace Psychologist. She also writes at Linkedin.