An extensive evaluation and analysis of how Positive Psychology underpins aspects of Leadership Theory
Psychology plays a significant role in all aspects of society, particularly the positive psychology model, which delves into the well-being of individuals. This essay evaluates how positive psychology underpins the various contemporary leadership theories about current leadership challenges experienced in the workplace. In its exploration, the paper will first discuss the psychological model of positive psychology, including consulting a critical model in positive psychology known as the PERMA model and how it underpins contemporary leadership theories.
The second discussion in the essay will evaluate the in-depth significance of positive psychology in the transformational leadership theory and how the PERMA model underpins transformational leadership theory. In this section, the report will examine transformational leadership theory and its challenges in the applied work context. Finally, the paper will evaluate the future of positive psychology and transformational leadership theory.
The definition of positive psychology will help elaborate on how it underpins the different leadership theories and, later in the essay, explain how it underpins transformational leadership. Generally, psychology is the study of the mind and behavior; however, an acclaimed branch of psychology is positive psychology which is defined as the psychology of well-being and flourishing which mainly delves into the strengths of humanity rather than weaknesses by bolstering the goodness and positivism in life rather than treating the bad (Seligman, 2019).
According to Seligman (2019), positive psychology aims to complement traditional fields of psychology with no intention of replacing them. Person (2008) defined positive psychology as the process that makes life worthwhile by interacting with human beings at their best moments. The quality of life, happiness, and well-being are at the core of positive psychology as they heavily foster positivism and reduce maladaptive thoughts in times of helplessness. Seligman (2019) described authentic happiness as one with three types of happy lives; good, pleasant, and meaningful. In his explanation of the meaningful life aspect Seligman (2019), they summarized this theory using the PEPRMA model, an acronym for Positive Emotions, Engagement, Positive Relationships, Meaningfulness, and Accomplishment.
Positive emotions are linked with positive outcomes in life, varying from simple joy and happiness to stronger emotions of satisfaction and pride. Positive emotions help foster stronger social relationships in the community and working environments. Fredrickson (2001) established that positive emotions played a vital role in improving the well-being of individuals and as a sign of flourishing since they help in ridding the mind of negative emotions and their impacts. Positive emotions help in developing recurrent reasoning and acting.
Engagement is described as participating in events that encourage and develop individual interests. Seligman (2012) compared engagement to “being one with the music, ” which aligns with Csikszentmihalyi’s former ideology of the flow. Genuine engagement in an activity allows people to fully concentrate on it as they get mentally absorbed into doing the activity. Genuine engagement induces passion and assists individuals to live in the current moment, whereby they pay attention only to the activities happening at the present moment.
Positive relationships, as the third core component of the PERMA model, describe the various relationships human beings get to form throughout their lives, including those with family members, friends, partners, and coworkers, amongst others. According to Seligman (2012), human beings are naturally social creatures whose social circles broaden as they go through the different stages of life. Nonetheless, forming these social circles is highly dependent on the social environment, and people focus on creating productive relationships, promoting their well-being, and generating positive emotions. Peterson (2008) argued that everybody matters in society matters because it is through responses to each other in the community that stronger relations emerge.
Meaningfulness is the purpose people create as they go through life. Seligman (2012) states that meaning includes serving something more significant than ourselves. Meaning answers the question as to why we live our lives the way we do as human beings. Individual values answer these questions, which their life adversities may drive (Wong & Roy, 2017). The sense of meaning in people helps them strive to achieve their objectives in life within the different aspects of their lives, including spiritual, social, professional, and political (Lomas et al., 2021).
Accomplishments within the PERMA model are known as competence, whereby individuals gain pride from their accomplishments in life, resulting in their well-being (Seligman, 2012). Accomplishment within the PERMA model may not solely be pursued to yield positive emotions or relationships. However, for other individual reasons, they heavily impact the other elements of PERMA, like positive emotion when one acquires a sense of pride. Seligman (2013) described personal objectives as better driving forces to accomplishing more remarkable achievements than extrinsic goals since goals can be individual or community-based.
In the next section, the essay will evaluate how positive psychology underpins the various contemporary leadership theories.
This essay will examine how positive psychology underpins transformational leadership by discussing the challenges in applied work. It defines transformational leadership as a style affecting social systems and individual behavior. In its optimal state, it fosters significant and constructive change in the followers, aiming to transform employees into leaders.
Transformational leadership improves followers’ motivation, morale, and output via several processes when practiced in its purest form. Transformational leadership encourages followers to take greater ownership of their individual and collective duties by challenging these individuals to do so and understanding personal abilities and shortcomings so the leader can allocate employees to duties that maximize their performance. Connecting the followers’ sense of identity and self to the organization’s mission and collective identity is another factor for encouraging factors taken into consideration by transformational leaders.
Transformational leaders give their followers something more than merely working for their benefit; they offer members a sense of self and a compelling purpose. Through the leader’s idealized influence, stimulation of thought, inspirational motivation, and personalized concern, the leader transforms and drives followers since these are the core elements of the transformational leadership theory. Additionally, this leader exhorts people to think of fresh, original ways to oppose the present state of affairs and change the setting to support success. There are various challenges experienced by employees within the Department of Human Resources and Management, among them stress, leadership development, and burnout. If these issues are not addressed, they eventually affect people’s working performance. In the next part of the essay, discussions will revolve around how positive psychology and the PERMA model underpin transformational leadership within an applied work context.
Transformational leadership is crucial in shielding employees from workplace burnout by considering their thoughts and responses to leadership. This type of leadership can favorably impact employees’ ability to thrive at work. Burnout diminishes the chances of human resource employees succeeding at the workplace, reducing the sense of pride in accomplishment and eventually affecting the employee’s self-identity (Hildenbrand et al., 2018).
Lin et al. (2020) suggest that the collaborative spirit of management and employee interaction is emphasized by transformational leadership. Typically, it supports substantial information sharing, creativity, and development. For instance, by delegating meaningful duties and using the company’s vision statement, transformational leaders can help employees find a purpose that aligns with the company’s goals. In such cases, employees are, therefore, able to find the purposeful existence of their jobs.
Another challenging factor for human resource employees is high stressors in the workplace. According to Walumbwa (2018), transformational leadership significantly impacts how employees behave and work because they make decisions and carry them out. How to get staff engaged is the largest managerial challenge. Three core pillars of positive psychology are built around personal traits, positive institutions, and positive experiences (Seligman, 2019). According to Kour et al. (2019), the three positive traits that contribute heavily to how employees may overcome stressors at work and boost their performance are well-being, optimism, and personal strength.
Walumbwa (2018) suggests that a significant issue requiring leaders’ interventions involves motivating employees to consistently learn at the workplace to increase adaptability and develop creative habits. Nonetheless, because of the greater workloads which force employees to work overtime and the hurried speed of work, which are caused by the more severe rivalry in the labor market, the employees now frequently experience significant levels of work stress.
Another challenge facing human resource employees is leadership development. Human resource managers are tasked with hiring professionals expected to steer companies in the right direction, leaving no room for mistakes (Cassar et al., 2017). Transformational leadership fosters good positive relationships with employees, which facilitates employees championing behaviors that help them adapt to organizational changes within the workplace (Islam et al., 2021). Good working relationships help reduce some of the employee’s stressors.
Productive engagement among staff in the workplace continues to be an important public issue because it relates to the concentrated effort to achieve company objectives. The workplace involvement of employees is an important term within the field of positive psychology. It plays a crucial and basic role in the ongoing corporate development and change process (Meng et al., 2022). Work engagement is a stronger indicator of positive work results than factors like job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Over the past two decades, work engagement has slowly risen to the top of management research and practice. A high level of engagement among human resource employees in the public realm could be beneficial for fostering the caliber of public services (Arnold, 2017).
Nevertheless, employee engagement in the public sector is lower than in the private sector. Research on employee involvement in the public sector has recently piqued academic interest due to its potential to improve performance, management, decisions, and reform (Moin et al., 2021). As a key component of positive psychology, having a meaningful job reflects the connection between one’s inner and outer worlds. It also gives employees the innate drive to make good decisions and achieve their full potential. The connection involving meaningfulness and engagement will likely shift during transformational leadership due to its ability to promote positive results in the workplace.
According to the demand-resource model for the job, transformational leadership is an essential asset that enables followers to go beyond their interests to accomplish group and organizational goals (Hannah et al., 2020). Positions at work represent the positive psychological state of work engagement. In order to foster positive personal achievement and interactions with work and others, engaged employees often intellectually, emotionally, and physically project themselves into their job positions. They frequently display high commitment, excitement, and energy while working (Duțu & Butucescu, 2019).
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