boost logo sky

Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology is a recent branch of psychology founded by Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

PuppyIt aims to study and develop scientific understanding of what makes people thrive and flourish. It does not deny that things go wrong in life but seeks to redress the balance of psychology which until a few years ago had a focus on illness.

BabyStudies have looked in detail at what helps people be the best and how to influence things to go well.

KittenPositive Psychology is increasingly used in organisations. Clear links are being established between high performance and the implementation of techniques which influence positive emotions, flow, strengths, resilience and optimism.

Pinnacle ridgeThe evidence shows that happy workers have better work performance and productivity and handle managerial jobs better. However as Wong and Davy (2007) have shown it is not as simple as it seems.

ButterflyThis is where the BOOST training programme comes in. We can ensure that the techniques are introduced in such a way as to embed the changes, giving sustainable improvements.


Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again Nelson Mandela

An Riabhachan


So what does the research tell us?

Positive leadership improves organisations' performance

Learning how to be a positive leader can improve profitability, customer satisfaction and employee more here

BOOST cogsConfidence is at a low

'The pressures in today’s work environment will continue to alter how businesses operate and how people connect to their companies and work' more about confidence here

BOOST cogsAbsence is on the increase and stress is the main cause

UK employers estimate that they lose an average £673 per employee per year because of time away from work for reasons ranging from serious illness to stress and family responsibilities. That is up from £600 in more on stress and absence here

BOOST cogsLack of staff engagement correlates with poorer performance

In a 2010 study James K. Harter and colleagues found that lower job satisfaction foreshadowed poorer bottom-line more about engagement and performance here

The level of employee engagement has a direct financial impact on organisations.

Companies with the highest employee engagement increase operating income by 19% year on year and earnings per share by 28%.

Fewer than 5% of engaged employees are looking for a new job whereas 25% of disengaged employees are job hunting.

It costs 3 times an employee's salary to recruit and re-train a replacement.  Reducing employee turnover by increasing work satisfaction and engagement saves money.

A recent survey by Society for Human Resource Management in collaboration with Globoforce finds engagement is the biggest challenge for HR.

All FTSE 100 firms will soon be ranked on how well they report staff engagement and wellbeing, after Business in the Community (BITC) research revealed a “critical link” between HR metrics and raised productivity.

BOOST cogsEngagement is measurable

It correlates with performance, it correlates with innovation and engagement levels in the UK are low and vary more the benefits of engagement here

BOOST cogsThe well-being of your staff is crucial to the success of your organisation

Carol Black found considerable evidence that health and well-being programmes produced economic benefits across all sectors and all sizes of business: in other words, that good health is good more on how well-being helps staff perform here

BOOST cogsAn LSE study from July 2009 looked at 51 studies of pay for performance plans within companies. Their conclusions? “We find that financial incentives can result in a negative impact on overall performance”. So if bonuses don't work, what does?

BOOST cogsTalent management in the 21st Century   84% of highly engaged employees believe they can positively impact the quality of their work yet only 14% of the workforce was found by the survey to actually be highly engaged. 

BOOST cogsCorporate Leadership Council (CLC) Research with 19,817 employees showed that focusing on performance strengths increased performance by a massive 36.4%. In contrast focusing on performance weaknesses caused performance to decline by 26.8%.

BOOST cogsISR Research (2006) Global Employee Engagement Study found companies with higher engagement levels have nearly 6% better operating margins than those whose employees are less well engaged.

Read more about why the workplace needs Positive Psychology.

Read a study which shows Positive Psychology techniques improve well-being

And one which suggests happiness can protect you against illness

Brain facts:

They say laughter is contagious. Studies show positive but also negative moods can indeed spread through the workplace due to 'emotional contagion'. The BOOST programme can help you make sure it is positivity that spreads.

If you have a difficult task to perform, studies show it is better to ask yourself "Will I do...?" than to say "I will do...". Asking the question helps build self motivation.

Management by walking about (MWBA) works even if you don't speak to anyone

Your brain doesn't like to keep secrets. Studies at the University of Texas, Austin, have shown that writing down secrets in a journal or telling a doctor your secrets actually decreases the level of stress hormones in your body. Keeping a secret, meanwhile, does the opposite.

If you purposefully think "happy thoughts" for just fifteen minutes you will feel better. And if we analyse your blood before and after, the second sample will have lower levels of cortisol (a chemical associated with stress and suppressed immune response) and elevated levels of immunoglobin A (IgA) and DHEA, both of which are associated with higher levels of immune functioning and well-being .

Brain myths:

There is a widely held NLP belief that if a person looks up to the right when answering a question they are lying, while looking up to the left indicates they are telling the truth. Three recent studies failed to find evidence of this belief.

Have you read that more Andrews marry Andreas, that more Dennis's work as dentists and that more Georges move to Georgia than statistical chance would allow? Seems our brains really do like to make patterns. Or do they?

Have you heard that listening to Mozart can make you smarter? The original study was carried out by Shaw and Rauscher in California but subsequent studies have failed to support their findings.

If you believe eating the marshmallows shows poor self control here is evidence to the contrary

Being bored at work leads to negative performance. Or does it?

Fed up nagging teenagers to stop playing video games? Perhaps you should get Granny to play them too