Posted by: Ornella Farrugia
on Thu 04 Oct

At August’s Innovation Day, we welcomed Dan Sly, Doctoral Researcher at Canterbury Christ Church University. He shared with us how sport and performance psychology practices can be transferred into the workplace.

It’s Psychology, but not as we know it. Psychology is a science of continual change and evolution, and recently there has been an increased interest in the application of psychology as a tool for promoting human flourishing at an individual, team and organisational level. To truly flourish, we must seek to understand and develop the psychological resources required to help us achieve our full personal and professional potential. This is the goal of performance psychology, a domain of study dedicated toward the exploration of processes that enable us to achieve performance excellence.

Flourishing is basically the optimal range of human functioning and the “gold standard” of wellbeing. It is a holistic process which requires us to consider our performance in a multitude of different contexts. To enhance performance, we must first work towards enhancing the performer. This includes a focus on one’s core values and the key attributes required to excel in all key aspects our life such as our work, leisure time, health and relationships.

So, where do we go from here?

To build a truly competitive workforce, every organisation needs:

  1. People who know how to learn;
  2. People with skills in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem solving and communications;
  3. People who have ambition and self-confidence.

These are the key capabilities organisations want from their future workforce to stay resilient and prepared for a changing world.

Values represent the principles we need to live by in order to reach our full potential. Remember values are not goals, but rather actions and elements of our life that we have the power to control and demonstrate on a daily basis.

Consider the psychological attributes below and ask yourself: “What are the attributes I feel to be most important to my success and my continued growth? What specific goals and actions can I take to develop these attributes?”

  • Resilience – represents an ability to respond positively and proactively to adversity. Research within sport has suggested that adversity enables us to learn important life lessons and develop resources to enable us to deal more effectively with future challenges we may encounter.
  • Motivation – Whilst there is little denying that financial gains and opportunities for professional progression within an organisation are strong motivators, continued motivation is most commonly associated with intrinsic factors such as regular opportunities to obtain new skills and knowledge, feelings of accomplishment and experience stimulation within our working practices.
  • Emotional Intelligence – Intelligence in the workplace extends beyond knowledge of organisational practices and policies. More recently, research has continually emphasized the importance of possessing emotional intelligence as a key attribute in helping promote enhanced performance and satisfaction.
  • Confidence – is strongly linked to continued motivation and has been shown to be a key attribute in promoting positive behaviours (e.g. effort, persistence and optimism) and enhanced performance at both an individual and team level.

These are just some key highlights taken from August’s Innovation Day. Each month, clients of the Innovation Programmes receive a full ACT report, capturing the guest expert’s research, the implications and next steps for leaders to apply back in their team and organisation.

Next month, clients will explore how to use large-scale business simulations to create the skills and competencies which organisations need now and in the future.  For more information, please view the Innovation Day page.

Sources: Sly, D. (2018) ‘Performance Psychology and The Corporate Athlete’, KnowledgeBrief Innovation Day Presentation, 8 August.

To enhance performance, we must first work towards enhancing the performer.

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Behaviourist Psychology | Emotional Intelligence | Person-Organisation Fit

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