Employee motivation

Why Positive Leadership makes you a Better Boss

Behind every successful leader stands a motivated team that shares values and vision. Unfortunately, you can’t simply teach employees to be motivated in their work, however there is a method that few know. Knowing this method can lead to satisfaction in the team being actively planned…

Only a motivated and satisfied team will deliver top performance. This is where the Positive Leadership Approach comes in.

Is satisfaction plannable?

The Positive Leadership Approach developed out of a new psychology school that emerged in the late 1990s. At that time, Martin Seligman took up the approach of positive psychology and made it popular. Before that point, psychology had been deficient: It was primarily concerned with the weaknesses of a person and how to compensate for them. Seligman tried to reinforce the positive elements of a human being in order to specifically produce feelings of happiness. In doing so, he followed the research into happiness that had been done in the 1980s, which stated that the happiness and satisfaction of a person could be consciously controlled.

From positive psychology developed a completely new approach to leadership: Positive Leadership, which was mainly driven by the economists Kim Cameron, Utho Creusen and Ruth Seliger. In this model, the team leader’s leadership style is designed to motivate employees and thereby spur them on to higher performance.

Happy employees, successful companies

IKEA, Media Markt, Saturn and Metro have seen success with this method: Positive leadership has made these companies extremely successful. The economist Fred Luthans has been able to prove that even small changes in leadership style in the direction of positive leadership have a major impact on a company’s success. Hotelier Bodo Janssen has put his focus on keeping his employees happy and fulfilled in their duties, and has been able to increase employee satisfaction by 80 percent and sales by 50 percent since 2011.

Throw old patterns overboard

In order to be able to use Positive Leadership as a superior, you need to say goodbye to stagnant thinking patterns. We are all trained to work on improving our weaknesses, however, this approach is rarely particularly motivating for certain life situations. So, why not put your employees where they work best and free them from unwanted tasks? Adjust the distribution of tasks to the talents of your employees. You will be amazed at how quickly motivation increases.

Make joint decisions

A “positive leader” creates a framework to increase employee engagement. In addition to targeted talent management, it is important to involve the employees in decisions. Anyone who is allowed to set a goal himself, believes that he can achieve it, and will pursue it with much ambition. As a leader, you should therefore recognize where decision-making opportunities for your employees lie and respect them.

Inspire with a vision

If you ask employees of successful companies if they are proud to work there, you will generally find approval. This enthusiasm can come from a strong sense of community and a unifying corporate vision. So give your employees something they can believe in, an idea they can identify with and stand for.

Let the motivation run wild

If you create all the framework conditions to motivate your employees, and apply them to their talents, something amazing happens – Your employees really go about their work. Flow is a state we’ve all heard about in sports, reading or making music. Time and space disappear and you dive completely into your activity when you’re ‘in the flow’. Flow comes about because of a sense of happiness and mostly leads to very positive results. Similar to motivation, flow cannot be forced. So, try and find out which activities cause your employees to get into the flow, and positively reinforce them.


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