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insium's newsletter on leadership: September, 2016

Written by Wednesday, 21 September 2016 00:00
Published in Newsletter

Organisational Courage

Courage is a pattern of constructive opposition, in which an individual stands against social forces in order to remedy duress in the organisation.

Monica Worline, 2012

The VIA strengths of courage are bravery, perseverance, honesty and zest; practising these strengths have resulted in the following organisational benefits:

  • Improved accountability and responsibility
  • More effective working relationships
  • Increased self-efficacy and self-confidence
  • Broadened perception of what is possible and improved resourcefulness
  • Increased goal achievement
  • Increased ability to learn from mistakes
  • Increased positive energy, positive mood, empathy and conscientiousness
  • Increased prosocial orientation
  • Inspired others to act courageously 

Adapted from the works of Haidt (2002); Herman (1971); Hitz & Driscol (1989), Huhnke (1984); McQuaid& Lawn (2014); Peterson & Seligman (2004); Ryan & Deci (2000); Shepela, Cook, Horlitz, Leal, Luciano & Lufty (1997)

How do you build courage in your organisation?  A few ideas for your consideration that can be easily implemented include:

Up!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016 00:00
Published in Blog

I recently tweeted about the following clip and thought I would write a very short piece about how you might like to consider using this clip in a strengths and/or wellbeing workshop.

This short clip (less than 5 minutes) from the animated movie, “Up!”, can be found here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTDP-A--BhE

 

insium's newsletter on leadership: August, 2016

Written by Wednesday, 10 August 2016 00:00
Published in Newsletter

Courage:

The willingness to act towards a moral or worthwhile goal despite the presence of risk, uncertainty and fear

Robert Biswas-Diener, 2012

The VIA strengths of courage are bravery, perseverance, honesty and zest.  The benefits of these strengths include:

  • Healthy positive relationships
  • Taking personal responsibility for one’s actions
  • Increased tolerance for ambiguity
  • Increased resilience, personal growth and achievement
  • Increased trust
  • Increased happiness and wellbeing
  • Increased inclusiveness
  • Fuller expression of abilities, skills and talents
  • Increased resourcefulness
  • Increased self-confidence 

Adapted from Peterson & Seligman (2004)

 

While the following short clip depicts the courage of Buzz Lightyear:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czgmiqhgMCQ

courage is not purely the domain of the heroes in the world - ordinary people have courage too. (Lopez, Rasmussen, Skorupski, Koetting, Petersen, & Yang, 2010).  And yet, being courageous … requires courage.

Ancient Wisdom the Key to Solving Today's Problems?

Thursday, 02 June 2016 00:00
Published in Blog

Think the concepts of mindfulness and resilience are new?  Think again!  Stoicism, which dates back to Greco-Roman times, is "the branch of ancient western philosophy that focuses on mindfulness, resilience, creativity and more, all of which allow us to flourish".  "It requires being mindful, awareness and control, rather than being lost to emotion and random thought processes. Stoic exercises such as “practicing” misfortune and poverty help teach us that the worst case scenario is not in fact, the worst. And it’s great for business.  Stoic principles can build the resilience and state of mind required to rebound from knock-backs, so important in our new world of innovation and entrepreneurship".

Sound interesting?  Think it might have some applicability in your life?  Then for more information, follow this link to a recent article on "The Conversation" website.

Barack Obama - Rutgers University Commencement Address

Thursday, 26 May 2016 00:00
Published in Blog

"In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue"

"Qualities like kindness, compassion, honesty and hard work, they often matter more than technical skills and know-how. But when our leaders express a disdain for facts; when they're not held accountable for repeating falsehoods and just making stuff up, while actual experts are dismissed as elitist, then we've got a problem"

Food for thought.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjGUUGw0pQ8

Trail Dog

Monday, 02 May 2016 00:00
Published in Blog

A story of:

  • Adventure & play
  • Connectedness & relationships
  • Connectedness and mindfulness
  • Perspective
  • Optimism
  • Beauty
  • Being your best … all of the time
  • Happiness and gratitude

"Like so many dogs, they have it figured out. 
Happiness is so much simpler than you might think.”

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05sUhlxFBk0    

insium's newsletter on leadership: April, 2016

Written by Thursday, 21 April 2016 00:00
Published in Newsletter

The subject of my Master of Applied Positive Psychology course this semester is Positive Psychology and Organisations.  Our first assignment was to find an example of a positive organisation and to analyse it against:

  • Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi’s notion of a positive institution (2000) where they define positive institutions as those that “move individuals toward better citizenship” through cultivating “responsibility, nurturance, altruism, civility, moderation, tolerance, and work ethic” (p. 5); and
  • Stansbury and Sonenshein’s (2012) three elements of positive ethics; these being morally praiseworthy, discretionary and positively deviant


I chose the Lort Smith Animal Hospital as my case-study.  The following are a few excerpts from my assignment.
 
The Lort Smith Animal Hospital has been committed to caring for animals for the past 80 years.  The hospital’s vision is “to be the recognised leader in Australia for animal health and wellbeing” and its mission is “to improve the health and happiness of animals and the people who care for them,” with the supporting values of care and compassion, quality and affordability, integrity and respect (Lort Smith Animal Hospital, 2014).  The hospital is the largest not-for-profit animal hospital in Australia, providing veterinary care, adoption and fostering services, emergency boarding and bereavement services to animals and their owners…

 … In addition to providing sanctuary, rehabilitation, welfare and a new home for animals, nurturance permeates all that the hospital provides and is linked to its core principle of preserving the human-animal bond … A further example of nurturance is the “Mates for Inmates” program (Humpage, 2015) in which female inmates care for and train rescue dogs, providing a second chance for the inmates by providing responsibility, a sense of purpose and future opportunities for employment.  The dogs also get a second chance where they are loved, cared for and trained to increase their likelihood of finding new homes. 
 
… A strong example of positive deviance and compassionate generosity to victims of hardship as described by Stansbury and Sonenshein (2012), is the hospital’s Emergency Boarding Program which is part of the Adoption Centre; … this program provides care for the pets of some of the most vulnerable members of community – for example, those who have mental health issues, the homeless, the elderly requiring emergency hospitalisation and victims of domestic violence.  The Lort Smith has been providing emergency accommodation since 1936 ensuring that pets are fed, accommodated, receive medical assistance if needed and receive tender, loving care until they can be reunited with their owner.  It can be argued that this program has been deviating existing norms in a way that is positive and honourable (Stansbury & Sonenshein, 2012) for many years.
 
… While the day-to-day actions described provide clear evidence that the hospital is a positive institution and is positively ethical, there many more actions undertaken by the hospital which, while not included, further reinforce its standing as positive and ethical. 
 
insium is a proud supporter of the Lort Smith Animal Hospital.
 
If you are interested in reading the entire assignment, please let me know.


Humpage, A.  (2015, September 3).  Rescue dogs in Mates for Inmates program at Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, Ravenhall.  Herald Sun.  Retrieved from http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/west/rescue-dogs-in-mates-for-inmates-program-at-dame-phyllis-frost-centre-ravenhall/news-story/1a27937d5ba808b9d783e40511ef0a0a
 
Lort Smith Animal Hospital (2014).  Mission, Vision & Values.  Retrieved from http://www.lortsmith.com/what-we-do/about-us/mission-vision-values/
 
Seligman, M. E., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. The American Psychologist55(1), 5-14.
 
Stansbury, J. M. & Sonenshein, S. (2012).  Positive business ethics: Grounding and elaborating a theory of good works. In K. S. Cameron & G. M. Spreitzer (Eds.), Oxford handbook of positive organizational scholarship (pp. 340 – 352).  New York: Oxford University Press.

 

If you'd like to download a copy of this newsletter, you can do so via this link: insium newsletter April 2016. If you'd like to join our mailing list and receive our newsletter regularly, click on the "News" link in the "About" section of our website and complete the form.

Wellbeing boards for your workplace

Thursday, 21 April 2016 00:00
Published in Blog

Following is a simple idea for building wellbeing at work.  The idea involves creating a space for a “board” and then rotating the “subject” of the board on a monthly basis in order to keep the board fresh and novel.  Everyone is encouraged to participate, but it is certainly not mandatory; input may be as often as desired.

The board subjects might include:

  • Success – that is, what are the successes – small or large – that you/we/I have experienced
  • Gratitude – what are you/we/I grateful for
  • Good Things – what are 3 good things that have happened to you/us/me
  • Appreciation – that is, this is what I appreciate about you/this team/what you have done/what I have done
  • “Surprise/Gift” - everyone has an envelop with their name on the board and others are encouraged to include “gifts/surprises” for that person… this can be playful and/or serious
  • Wellbeing Ideas – that is, everyone is encouraged to share their ideas of what they do to maintain/improve their own wellbeing
  • Ideas for more boards – that is, everyone is encouraged to come up with their own ideas for board subjects

The idea of having wellbeing boards comes from a number of people - thank you.

A daring culture and feedback

Friday, 15 April 2016 00:00
Published in Blog

Brené Brown describes a daring culture as one that is honest, constructive, and engages in feedback.  She also explains that giving or receiving feedback is likely to result in some discomfort; “feedback thrives in cultures where the goal is not getting comfortable with hard conversations but nomalising discomfort.  By letting people know that this discomfort is normal, is going to happen and why, this actually reduces the anxiety, fear and potential shame.  This is consistent with growth and learning being uncomfortable, with individuals stepping outside of their comfort zone in order to learn and grow. 

In telling her students that there will be times that they will feel discomfort, discomfort becomes an expectation and the norm, to the point where her students inform her, “I haven’t been uncomfortable yet.  I’m concerned.”  This in turn leads to key feedback conversations regarding their engagement and also, her teaching, leading to growth and learning for all.

The key for leaders is to foster and support the courage to be uncomfortable; is to be willing to be vulnerable and role-model this daring behaviour; to help the people with whom we work to accept this discomfort as a part, even a sign, of growth and learning.

 

Brown, B.  (2012).  Daring greatly:  How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead.  London:  Penguin Books.

The influence of language

Tuesday, 05 April 2016 00:00
Published in Blog

What language do you use?  Habitually?  Consciously or unconsciously?  “Our words create our worlds” – this simple phrase when spoken by David Cooperrider, had considerable impact on my noticing my vocabulary and intentionally changing it to be more positive and to create the space for possibility and growth.

 

Following are a few more quotes that I have reflected on and have impacted my words and my world:

 

  • “The seeds of change are implicit in the first question we ask.  The more positive the questions, the more positive the potential for transformation.” Diana Whitney
  •  " The power of questions and questioning is to open the door to new possibilities.”  David Cooperrider
  •  “To change behaviour, change the conversation.”  Wim Croonen
  •  “When I tell you my story, you give me colour.  I exist, I am in the moment.”  Eric Koenen