Positivity Is Serious Business
Improving performance through positive leadership
When business leaders think of the term “positivity,” too many envision a kind of squishy, touchy-feely happiology that seems out of place in today’s fast-moving workplace. But positivity should not be dismissed so easily.
Leaders that do so are robbing themselves, their employees -- and their customers -- of a quite serious leadership tool that can dramatically improve a company’s culture and its performance. A growing body of research has now established the link between positive leadership practices and outcomes like productivity, customer satisfaction, and employee retention. And, for some companies, positive leadership has meant the difference between failure and success.
Consider the case of Prudential Retirement -- which began adopting positive leadership practices in conjunction with its contentious merger with Cigna in 2003. Cynicism about the merger was high, and morale was low. There was a serious culture clash between the two groups. John Kim, who became CEO of Prudential Retirement at the time, believed that positive leadership was necessary if the two teams were ever going to come together. He likened the dynamic to the New York Yankees trying to merge with the Boston Red Sox.
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