Source from:
August 2018 Business SCAN

Sport and performance psychology has received a growing interest, not only in the sporting world, but also in the world of business. Many of the psychological attributes required for an athlete or team to excel in sport have been regarded as similar to those exhibited in individuals and teams who tend to excel in the workplace. We hope this Hot Topic will capture your interest and get you thinking about how you can harness the power of performance psychology to enhance your own working practices

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Research: The emergence of performance psychology

The science of psychology is constantly changing and evolving. At the turn of the 21st Century, influential psychologist Martin Seligman gave a public address in which he shared his vision of “Positive Psychology”, a domain of study dedicated toward helping people, teams and organisations flourish. In conjunction with the emergence of the positive psychology movement, the last decade has seen an increased appetite for psychological tools and techniques which are dedicated toward enhancing human performance and wellbeing.

In 2002, the paper “Performance Excellence: A Personal Perspective on the Link Between Sport and Business” represented an important benchmark which enabled those working in the domains of business and sport to reflect more deeply on the similarities between these two fields of performance. Common themes, such as confidence, motivation, resilience and handling pressure, are key attributes for success and are considered to be transferable across both sport and business. More recently, ideas from sport psychology have served as a strong foundation within other diverse performance domains, including the military, the performing arts and, of course, business and corporate settings.

The wider applicability of sport psychology within these domains have recently resulted in the emergence of “performance psychology” – a domain of study which seeks to explore the key human factors required to perform optimally at an individual, team and organisational level.

The Performance Psychology Approach

What are the key skills we can draw from sport and performance psychology in order to enhance our professional practices within business? Research within the domain of performance psychology highlights how the answer may lie in the development of a series of key psychological attributes.

Communication The ability to communicate effectively with members of a team and keep dialogue constructive and positive
Confidence The belief in oneself to achieve desired outcomes/results
Emotional Regulate The ability to operate with emotional intelligence and not let your emotions get the better of your judgment
Focus The ability to “get in zone” and focus on the task at hand
Mental Toughness The ability to perform in line with your values, even when faced with difficult or pressurised situations
Reslilience The ability to bounce back from adversity and setbacks
Optimism The ability to maintain a positive outlook in relation to future goals and endeavours

Sources: Fletcher, D. (2011). Applying sport psychology in business: A narrative commentary and bibliography. Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, 1(3), 139-149.; Ievleva, L., & Terry, P. C. (2008). Applying sport psychology to business. International Coaching Psychology Review, 3(1), 8-18.; Jones, G. (2002). Performance excellence: A personal perspective on the link between sport and business. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 14(4), 268-281.

Action Point

What do you believe to be the most important attributes regarding your workplace performance?

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Techniques Referenced in this Hot Topic

Emotional Intelligence | Organisational Behaviour Modification | Personal Development Plans

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