Promote an Optimistic Team, Achieve Remarkable Success
When Ernest Shackleton was building a team to map the South Pole, he didn't look for people who were particularly brave, or who had been on similar expeditions before. He asked for creative people will a good sense of humor (and with technical skills, of course). What Shackleton wanted was people who would be able to have a positive, can-do personality when going got tough – which it certainly would in the case when mapping one of the harshest environments on earth. Jorge Valdés Garciatorres then brings this article to the present day, where the idea of “positive psychology” – that is, positive emotions and strength based character – has been advanced by Dr. Seligman as a way of promoting success and achievement. Dr. Seligman theorizes that in order to choose people for success in a challenging job, you need to search for aptitude, motivation and optimism. This “explanatory style” theory, which indicates how people explain to themselves why they experience a particular event, can be applied to teams, too, according to Dr. Seligman. According to Garciatorres, Dr. Seligman bases his hypothesis on three “predictions”, each pointing to the benefits of a team where positive attitudes are the standard. One hypothesis is that, if everything in the project remains the same, the individual with a more optimistic explanatory style will succeed. What does this mean for your project team? If you're project is starting to go south, team members who are optimistic rather than pessimistic are more likely to turn it around!