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Positive Organisational Scholarship

Positive Organisational Scholarship

Positive Organisational ScholarshipThe easiest way to understand Positive Organisational Scholarship is to think of it as the systematic study of Positive Psychology, at the level of an organisation. And, if you need a primer on Positive Psychology, take a look at our article.

A lot of the formal descriptions of Positive Organisational Scholarship (POS) use dry academic language. Put simply, it’s the study of what makes members of an organisation perform at their best levels, by focusing on what they do well.

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Self Confidence

The Management Pocketbooks Pocket Correspondence Course

Pocketblog is going back to basics. This is the first of a series of posts on management skills.


Self confidence is the starting place for any manager.  Your promotion to managerial role has probably been triggered more by your expertise in doing your previous job, your reliability, and your character, than by any specific evidence of your managerial capability.  And that’s fine, because it is the way most of your colleagues were promoted too.

But it can leave you feeling a little nervous about your suitability to manage and, when your boss tells you to ‘get on with it – I have every trust in you’ you can feel a little isolated.  Your boss leaves you to it, your new management peers don’t yet trust you, and your team are wary of how you will treat them, now you have become a manager.

Here are three exercises to help boost your self-confidence.

Exercise 1: A Reassuring Word

Write down your answers to the following sentences:

  • ‘I earned my managerial role because…
  • ‘My three most valuable managerial assets are…
  • ‘The managers I learned most from are…
  • ‘I will know I am doing a good job as manager when…
  • ‘Things will go wrong; that’s life.  If they do, the people I can go to are…

Exercise 2: Seeing Success

Imagine it is Monday morning and you are in work, ready to start the day.  In a minute, close your eyes and picture yourself there.  Picture your first few conversations and meetings going well.  Notice yourself handling the situations effectively, feeling well-prepared.  As you go through your morning, picture everything you do going as planned. At each stage, notice how good that makes you feel.  At the end of your morning, imagine how positive and confident you will feel.

Now, close your eyes and play that movie in your head for several minutes.

When you have done this, make a note in your notebook about how you felt at the end of each part of your morning.  Write down what you did to achieve your successes.

This is an exercise to repeat several times over the coming days.  Each time you do it, choose another day and either the morning or afternoon.  Every time you do it, you will increase your base level of confidence.

Exercise 3: Power Poses

One of the reasons some people feel more confident than others is simply levels of hormones in their bodies.  For example, increased testosterone levels increase confidence, whilst increased cortisol levels decrease confidence.  Perhaps it is surprising, but your gross posture affects levels of both of these hormones and, whether you are a man or a woman, you can increase testosterone levels and decrease cortisol, by adopting power poses.

You can do these poses for two or three minutes before going into a stressful situation and you can maintain confidence-boosting hormone levels by maintaining upright, open postures during your day.

Power Poses

Stand upright, legs apart – slightly wider than shoulder width – and put your hands on your hips.  If there is a table, counter or a solid back of a stable chair available, place your hands firmly on it, about 70-80cm apart (wider than your shoulders) and lean forward.  Adopt these poses for two minutes or so.

If you have a chair to sit on, try sitting upright, legs apart, with feeet firmly on the floor.  Plant your hands firmly on your upper thighs, with elbows outwards.  Lean your body back a little, with head a little forward.  Or try putting your feet up on a table, leaning back in your chair, with your hands clasped behing your head, elbows splayed out.  Adopt one of these for two minutes.

If these poses remind you of a typical ‘old-school alpha-male boss’, they should.  The difference is that you will adopt these poses privately for a few minutes at most, to boost your confidence for the next meeting; rather than maintain it in the meeting to intimidate your colleagues.

Upright Postures

For all-of-the-time posture, keep to standing with feet at hip or maybe shoulder width, head upright, as if pulled by a puppet string, and arms by your sides.  This open body, coupled with upright posture, will not only make you feel more assertive, but will enhance your breathing, your vocal tone and projection and present your image as confident and authoritative.

Further Reading

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Technology Quotient (TQ): Measuring Digital Savvy

Technology Quotient (TQ)

Technology Quotient (TQ)It is a cliché to assert that technology is ubiquitous in the workplace. Yesterday’s innovations will eventually become today’s commonplace tools. So, we all live with and easily manage technology our great grandparents would have found strange and maybe alarming. But some of us are comfortable with the very latest creations – those that will only be deeply familiar to the coming generations. And we might describe these people as having a high TQ: a high Technology Quotient.

The Big Idea, ‘Technology Quotient’ takes its inspiration from IQ, Intelligence Quotient. But what does it measure and is it a useful concept?

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Confirmation Bias: The Worst of Humanity

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation BiasWhy is the Pocketblog writing about ‘the worst of humanity’? Because nothing is fixed. But if you don’t know how Confirmation Bias works, you are powerless to deal with it.

Confirmation Bias is just one of many cognitive biases and thinking traps our giant, yet lazy, brains are prey to. But it is the one that is responsible for the most ills in the world. And it is also responsible for bad judgments in business, politics, and public administration.

So, we think it falls very much within the scope of our Big Ideas series. Unless you understand the big idea of what confirmation bias is, you cannot take it on with the simple tools that are available to you.

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Action Learning: L=P+Q

Action Learning

Action LearningAction Learning is, quite simply, the best way to learn. Especially if what you want to learn is less ‘learning that’, and more ‘learning how’.

Reg Revans started life as a physicist. His Big Idea was to apply the way scientists deal with problems to create a way for managers to learn. And he called his process Action Learning.

Let’s understand what Action Learning is, how it works, and why it is so good.

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Time Perspectives

Time Perspectives: Our Orientation to Time

Time Perspectives: Our Orientation to TimeWhat is time? Physicists who study it don’t really have a good answer. Or, rather, they have too many different answers, which they cannot reconcile. But Philip Zimbardo was interested in the traces that time leaves on our psychology. And he called those traces ‘Time Perspectives’.

Time perspectives are how we perceive our relationship to time. They dictate many of our day-to-day and long-term life choices. To a large extent, we inherit our time perspectives from our cultures. But our individual early-life experiences have a large part to play as well.

However, the upshot is important. Your time perspective has a big role in determining how you use the time you have available. Time management books and courses can overlay strategies and tools. But, fundamentally, it’s the psychology of time that dictates your behaviours.

And that comes down to your time perspectives.

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Memes: Ideas that Spread and Evolve

Memes: Ideas that Spread and Evolve

Memes: Ideas that Spread and EvolveNo. An article on memes is not an excuse to re-post a bunch of funny internet memes. We’re more grown-up boring than that, here at Management Pocketbooks.

And it’s not as if we think you don’t know what a meme is. Of course you do. So, why have we made it the subject of one of our Big Ideas articles?

Because a meme is an idea that sticks around. It is a Big Idea!

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Self-Help: Therapy for the DIY Age

Self-Help

Self-HelpSelf-help wasn’t always a multi-million dollar industry. Its origins go way back to when the first caveman or cavewoman got up off the floor, brushed themselves down, and got back on with it.

So what is there to say about a Big Idea that’s been around forever and is almost certainly wired into our genes?

For me, it is the self-help industry that is the story. It’s a story of:

  • academic rigour and genuine solutions, alongside
  • mindless credulity and outright charlatanry

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Big Five Personality Traits

Big Five Personality Traits

Big Five Personality TraitsThe quest to understand human personalities has been going on for 3,000 years, or more. The Big Five Personality Traits are just the latest in a long line of models that take us towards that understanding.

And, it would be as absurd to think that the Big Five Personality Traits will be the last word on the matter as it would have been to stick with the four humours. But perhaps what the centuries of scientific development, and acres of statistical analysis, can assure us of is that we are honing that understanding.

How like the Big Five our 22nd Century model will be, we cannot know. But, for now, the best representation we have, of the fundamentals of human psychology, are the big Five Personality Traits. So, what are they?

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Happiness: The Pursuit of a Good Life

Happiness: the Pursuit of a Good Life

Happiness: the Pursuit of a Good LifeWhat better way to start the year than with an introduction to the science of Happiness?

And it’s not just a thriving area of scientific research. It’s also a predictably fertile topic for popular science books. On my shelf, I have:

  • Authentic Happiness, by Martin Seligman (2003) (US|UK)
  • Happiness: Lessons from a New Science, by Richard Layard (2005) (US|UK)
  • Happiness, The Science Behind Your Smile, by Daniel Nettle (2005) (US|UK)
  • The Happiness Hypothesis, by Jonathan Haidt (2006) (US|UK)
  • Happier, by Tal ben-Shahar (2008) (US|UK)
  • The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor (2010) (US|UK)

And I have stopped collecting.

Continue reading Happiness: The Pursuit of a Good Life

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