Positive Psychology and Team Performance

March 20, 2010 CollabNet VersionOne

Do the teams you coach seem to be stuck in a rut? Do you wish they would stand up for themselves when company management hands down a decision that harms them? Do they blindly accept situations that cause impediments to their work, assuming they can’t affect them anyway? If your attempts to help have been little help, then try something new. The science of positive psychology has something to teach us about how to help teams get unstuck, stand up for themselves and become resourceful in the face of impediments.

Do you sense the team has great ideas that they just can’t get out? Or, has it been so long since they came up with something new that even you doubt them? Do you think that an outpouring of outstanding ideas could cascade from something as simple as team members changing the way they see their circumstances and each other? Positive psychology thinks so.

I learned about positive psychology first-hand when I was researching it and, at the same time, experiencing a scary and negative life event. As I read more, I realized that positivity was playing a key role in my ability to recover. And that got me thinking about teams…

The science of positive psychology has been chugging away for the last few decades, conducting experiments and mounting evidence that positivity predicts team performance. Teams with more positivity are more high-performing. They come up with more and better and bigger ideas. They are more resourceful when faced with an impediment. And, when something bad happens, they bounce back.

And, with positivity, people flourish. When people flourish in their lives, rather than languish, they astound you with their resilience and brilliance. And, they ask for what they need. The result? Great ideas pour forth and walls of impediments crumble.

This pecha kucha presentation called “Positive Psychology and Team Performance” was first performed at the Scrum Gathering in March 2010 where it was well-received to the point that people wanted to see it again. So, I recorded it. View it now to capture the essence of positive psychology applied to teams and team members.

This blog post first appeared at the CoachingAgileTeams blog.

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