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How can positive leadership, inclusiveness and the quest for well-being affect today’s workplace?

Until most recently,  Most of the big corporations or organizations were practicing the “so-called” top-down approach. In the top-down approach, the executives or the key stakeholders make all the important decisions. All directions will come from the top management because they are presumed to have all the right answers.

But times have changed. Nowadays, the customer base is changing rapidly, which is a clear indication that tastes and preferences are also changing. Baby boomers, or people born after World War II, are retiring. Millennials, or people born between 1980s and 1990s, are on the rise. This generation is collaborative and team-oriented in nature which means that the command and control type of management will not be effective.

Millennials are also confident, tech-savvy, optimistic and connected than the previous generations. During a job search, they gather information about a company based on the company profiles and videos posted on social media like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+.  Unlike the Baby Boomers, they are driven by challenges, sense of purpose and a little bit of vanity. Flexibility is very crucial for them because they want to have an opportunity to blend their work and their personal lives. Technically, the Millennials and the Baby Boomers want the same thing (career progression and money), but their priorities are different. Millennials, unlike the previous generation who are extremely committed to their careers, would rather spend some quality time with their family or in pursuit of their passion.

To provide the flexibility demanded by the Millennials, remote-based work, non-traditional working schedules and Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) are becoming a trend in today’s workplace. No need to wake up early. No need to deal with heavy traffic going to the office. You can skip all that and start to work and end your shift easily.

Work-life balance is another trending concept these past few years. It is a type of lifestyle that draws the line between the individual’s professional and personal lives. Employers are supporting the efforts of the employees to divide their time and energy between their career and other important aspects of their lives.

Organizations like The New York Times, Tribune Co., Ernst & Young, Toyota, and IBM are starting to adapt new approaches or trends shifting from the top down approach to bottom-up approach where team members are encouraged to participate in every phase of the management process.  

In the bottom-up approach, positive leadership, inclusiveness and the quest for well-being are very crucial in any organization’s success.

We have heard “positive leadership”, “inclusiveness” and “well-being” a lot of times before, but what is it exactly and how are they going to affect the workplace of the future?

To better understand this concept, let’s try to define each of the keywords.

According to the Journal of World Business published in 2012, Positive Leadership is a systematic and integrated manifestation of leadership traits, processes, intentional behaviors and performance outcomes that are elevating, exceptional and affirmative of the strengths, capabilities and developmental potential of leaders, their followers, and their organizations over time and across contexts.

Positive Leadership puts an emphasis on the following:

  • What elevates and challenges the organization and its employees
  • What’s right and wrong for the organization
  • What’s life-giving or life-depleting
  • What’s projected as good or objectionable
  • What’s extraordinary yet effective
  • What’s difficult yet inspiring

This only means that negativity has no room for this kind of leadership and continuous monitoring of the multiple aspects of the company’s values and actions can keep one negative incident from tarnishing the reputation of the organization.

On the other hand, inclusiveness is defined as the ability to value and include all the employees’ and stakeholders’ contribution to an organization which energizes and motivates all parties involved in the decision-making. This is also described by Forbes as the ability to encourage teams to voice diverse perspectives and dissent.

Inclusiveness cultivates cultures which will result in higher productivity, retention, engagement, morale, and innovation.

Generally, well-being is the condition of an individual or group. There are many factors that determine the overall well-being of a person:

  • Social
  • Economic
  • Psychological
  • Spiritual
  • Medical

According to the CDC, well-being is tied to happiness and well-being of a person. Google is a great example of a company who cares about the well-being of its employees. Because of their aim to be the world’s happiest workplace, they staffed their HR department with a team of sociologists. Their job is to experiment with employee interactions and to come up with perks that would boost the well-being and productivity of its employees.

By looking at the definition of each word, positive leadership, inclusiveness, and well-being are 3 important factors of effective management and motivation of teams to improve corporate performance. They are interrelated and work best when implemented side by side.

By adapting these approaches, you are creating an environment where employees want to work rather than creating an environment where you, as the leader, want to work. It is a win-win situation in a sense that if the employees are happy, they will do a great job and will make your clients happy.

This is not a theory. Science can back it up. Based on the research of the University of Warwick in Britain, productivity increases by 12 percent if the person is happy. It is a simple logic that, sadly, many leaders are still overlooking.

These 3 concepts can greatly help in employee support and satisfaction which in turn results in better organizational performance. Indeed, employers should find ways to create a culture of positive leadership, inclusiveness, and well-being which would, in turn, lead to a healthier, happier and more productive workforce.

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