A while back I wrote about your signature strength. When you understand about yourself that there is something core to your being which drives you and everything you do. It’s not something we give much heed to, because it’s quite the self-indulgent thing to experience. So many day to day things happening, why do I then need to take the time to find my signature strength?
I’d like us to consider this is in the work environment. Last week Laurie Ruettimann wrote about all the contradictory career advice you hear these days. And I wanted to pick up on that. Positive Psychology easily falls into the camp of – yeah, you can only do that when you have nothing else in life to worry about.
If positive psychology is about helping people to live a vibrant life, how can we enable this more at work? The simple answer is, it isn’t likely to happen.
We’re not at work to be our best self. We’re not at work to find our signature strength. We’re certainly not at work to live a vibrant life.
Sure there are some workplaces that are great to work for. Mostly that’s because the company started because of a particular skill, they hired others with those skills, they hired even more who had skills they’d need in the future, and they made money along the way. But what about the production line worker, or the telesales clerk, or the road cleaner? They’re doing the job they have to in order to just get by. Asking them to live a more vibrant life may well result in verbal abuse.
And that’s the challenge. Us lot in HR. We few in OD. We can help support that creation of meaning. There’s been plenty of talk lately in the HR blogosphere about making work better. There are some practitioners out there who are making it happen. We don’t need to hack our way through things to make them better. I think the terminology is interesting and the CIPD have done a grand job of creating a sense of vivre in the day to day thinking of HR pros (who are all active online).
At work these things matter. A person’s pay, the physical layout, being safe from harm, having dignity, and having opportunities to contribute to something more than your work. If we get that right, and we’re the ones who control much of that, people can find their own ways to live vibrant lives.