The power of positive psychology was the topic of Good Shepherd Catholic College’s business breakfast on Wednesday.
Guest speaker Dr Joann Lukin enthralled an audience of teachers, students and representatives from local businesses in her speech at the Lumen Christi Centre about success in business, schools and teams.
Dr Lukin is a psychologist and associate professor at James Cook University with 25 years experience in the field and is the sports psychologist for the North Queensland Cowboys and has also worked for the Townsville Fire women’s basketball team and the former Townsville Crocodiles men’s basketball team.
Dr Lukin said positive psychology was the study of what goes right with people and what makes people flourish.
“That fits in nicely with the athletes I work with, most are performing well and they want the extra 10, five, one percent, whatever is going to help them to be their best possible self,” Dr Lukin said.
She said many of those ideas were transferable into the workplace.
“The success of your organisation is largely reflective of the culture that is there,” she said.
“The people who are sitting at the pointy end of an organisation very much define that culture so it’s really important the leaders in organisations recognise that.”
Dr Lukin spoke about what factors make people successful and she showed a powerpoint model which had four factors in a circle (resilience, creativity, accomplishments and systems) all surrounding the central element – communication.
“Communication is the central element from the psychological perspective about what fosters success and happiness and effectiveness in organisations and families and teams,” she said.
“Nothing beats face to face communication and of course we know that takes more time, but interpersonal communication is critical.”
Dr Lukin said an important part of communication especially for leaders in an organisation was to think about their vision but it was also important to listen.
“The more senior people get, the more talking they do, and one of the best ways of improving all of your relationships is this: stop talking,” she said.
“I’ve got two of these (pointing to her ears) and one of these (pointing to her mouth) and that is roughly the ratio – do twice as much listening as you do talking – effective listening is particularly important if you are working with staff or a customer or a patient.”
Dr Lukin said a big challenge for all organisations was managing change.
“The normal human reaction is this: ‘no, stop I don’t like it’,” she said.
“So managing change all comes down to effective communication.”
Dr Lukin also spoke about the motivation to go to work.
“Humans aren’t logical and don’t leave emotions at the door – emotions drive behaviour,” she said.
She said happiness was based on altruistic behaviour and gratitude. She suggested people should look at their jobs to see how their work help others.