COVID-19 is mercilessly sweeping through our country, and affecting our lives, our economy, and our businesses.

Sadly, there have been many casualties along the way, and some businesses will be forced to shut their doors. However, there will be some that will manage to get through these tough times, largely because of the support of their employees. At this stage, a company’s nancial reserves do play a critical role, but ultimately it’s the people – the heartbeat of a business – who make everything happen. This means that if you want your business to survive, thrive, and gain a competitive advantage, it’s the ideal time to invest in the well-being of your people.

Psychological Capital, also referred to as PsyCap, was pioneered by Fred Luthans, a management professor specialising in organisational behaviour at the University of Nebraska, in 2002. It’s defined as an individual’s positive psychological state of development, characterised by hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism. The underlying principle of PsyCap is to grow people psychologically, rather than to train them. Companies often spend time and money growing people’s explicit knowledge by enhancing their skills and competencies, but don’t invest the same kind of resources in growing tacit knowledge, such as people’s mindsets, attitudes, and psychological stamina. Research has continuously demonstrated the benefit of rolling out PsyCap in companies, starting with increased performance, engagement, and job satisfaction, and carrying through to personal life satisfaction, well-being, and health benefits.

The four psychological well-being components

Luthans made it easy for us to implement PsyCap in our companies by coming up with something called the “HERO Within”. This is a combination of four psychological aspects: Hope, Efficacy, Resilience, and Optimism. Investing resources in developing all four will give your business the competitive advantage to ensure that you overcome the pandemic.

Let’s look at each component in more detail, including a tip on how you can implement it in your business.

  1. Hope: A positive mindset that helps us find solutions and willpower to achieve our goals. Hope can be increased by making sure that goals are broken down into bite- sized chunks. ● Leaders can meet with a coach and have regular informal check-ins to support them to maintain their willpower, and collectively brainstorm new ideas.
  2. Efficacy: Refers to confidence, conviction, and motivation in our ability to successfully complete a task. ● To enhance efficacy, you need to experience task and goal successes, combined with regular feedback and acknowledgement. For a leader, this means allocating tasks in bite-sizes, taking the time to provide acknowledgement when the job is done, and giving constructive feedback of what the person did really well, and where there is room for improvement.
  3. Resilience: The ability to bounce back from stressful situations, conflict, or mishaps. ● Resilience can be developed by reframing the situation from a negative obstacle to a positive learning opportunity. This isn’t always easy in the heat of the moment, and so brainstorming about it with others is often very helpful. It can also foster positive relationships.
  4. Optimism: Having a positive future-orientated mindset. Many people struggle to be optimistic, and feel safer seeing things from a pessimistic point of view. This is because they perceive this to be the reality that is linked with not having expectations and not being disappointed. Optimism must, however, not be confused with luck or fate, but rather thought of as an internal belief that you can and will create a positive future. ● The tool here is to reflect on what you have control over and what you can’t control, and then focus on what you have, and look for the opportunity in every challenge that life presents you.

As you can see, the four components become very interlinked, and working on one will benet another. You might not feel that your business or team has the time or money to invest in your people right now, but I can’t stress enough that it’s the perfect time to consider this if you want to make it through the pandemic.

Chat to us – we can assist with short workshops to enhance the psychological well-being of your staff.

About the Author: Kerstin Jatho

Kerstin is the senior transformational coach and team development facilitator for 4Seeds Consulting. She is also the author of Growing Butterfly Wings, a book on applying positive psychology principles during a lengthy recovery. Her passion is to develop people-centred organisations where people thrive and achieve their potential in the workplace. You can find Kerstin on LinkedIn, Soundcloud, YouTube and Facebook.

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