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Posts Tagged ‘positive management

If you are interested in contemporary management or what is called positive management, or positive psychology, or positive organizational scholarship, and if you have had any training at all in “old school” management, there is an important habit of thought that you will have to give up.

Gap or deficit models have had their day

Almost all ‘old school’ management, and ‘old school’ psychology, works on a ‘gap model’.

Take “training” for example.  A manager decides someone isn’t doing what they should.  The manager asks whether they have done the task before or not.  If not, they are sent off for training.

The idea is that training will help the employee bridge the gap – between where they are know and where they should be.

Obvious, hey?

Well, we are going to kick that idea into touch.  Gap models and deficit models have been trashed.

What is the alternative to gap or deficit thinking?

But how can we define what to do if we can’t say where there is a gap?

Let’s take the greatest change champion of our time: Barack Obama.  How does Barack Obama propose change without saying there is a gap?

In January 2008, quite early on in the campaign, Barack Obama gave what I think of as his deficit speech.  It uses the word ‘deficit’ a lot.

Isn’t that a gap?  No, not really.  Because Obama talks about our deficit.  Not someone elses.  He talks about what we will do. Not what other people are going to do. And he talks about processes that we do and do well and will do more of.

The guiding rule in positive organizational scholarship is to talk about “the good and the true, the better and the possible” and DO MORE OF IT.

If you are new to positive management, begin with this speech

If you are new to positive management and still trying to get your head around thinking about change and forward movement without defining a gap, begin with this speech. It is a good example of contemporary positive thought.

Is it leadership and management ~ or ~ leadership or management?

So many people believe that management and leadership are separate, even antagonistic, activities. But I still believe that the two go hand-in-hand.  Leadership requires good management.  It is important to understand how work is organized and to shape institutions so we can make work easier, more fun and more productive.

The strategic plan for positive psychology

I’ve just tracked back to Martin Seligman’s original plans to develop critical mass for positive psychology.  It is an excellent case study of organizational leadership.  This paper was published at the outset.  It describes the inputs, outputs and processes needed to create a successful institution.  We can see the results for ourselves.

Competent positive leadership is being called for on many fronts

I couldn’t help thinking of the parallels in the Executive Summary and Barack Obama’s speeches.

“Entering a new millennium, we face a historical choice. Left alone on the pinnacle of economic and political leadership, the United States can continue to increase its material wealth while ignoring the human needs of its people and that of the rest of the planet. Such a course is likely to lead to increasing selfishness, alienation between the more and the less fortunate, and eventually to chaos and despair.

At this juncture the social and behavioral sciences can play an enormously important role. They can articulate a vision of the good life that is empirically sound while being understandable and attractive. They can show what actions lead to well being, to positive individuals, and to flourishing community. Psychology should be able to help document what kind of families result in the healthiest children, what work environments support the greatest satisfaction among workers, what policies result in the strongest civic commitment.

Yet we have scant knowledge of what makes life worth living. Psychology has come to understand quite a bit about how people survive and endure under conditions of adversity. But we know very little about how normal people flourish under more benign conditions.  .  .”

We won’t get a positive world without positive competent management too

Positive psychology is our zeitgeist.  We want a more positive world.  That doesn’t mean a “happy clappy” world. It means a competent world where we address our differences vigorously, yet with thought and compassion.

Positive psychology is an example of positive competent management

The positive psychology movement is been a masterful piece of strategic management.  Study it to see the merging of leadership and management!


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