Not: you can do better than this. But rather: well done.

Marianne van Woerkom’s academic enquiries don’t focus on why people don’t do well at work, but rather on what’s going on when they do. Hence the name positive psychology.

What is positive psychology?

“Positive psychology aims to counterbalance the overemphasis on things not going well, as characterised by things like depression and burnouts. While it’s important that these are studied, it's equally important to study what’s happening when people are happy and doing well. This allows us to better understand the circumstances in which people flourish, feel motivated, and so on. Fixing someone who’s had a burnout won’t increase their motivation.”

As a positive psychologist, are you perhaps not something of a lone voice in the wilderness?

“Haha, it’s not that bad. More and more organisations are starting to employ it. Businesses are starting to focus more on the well-being of their staff, not only to prevent burnouts, but also to boost loyalty and ensure that people feel good at work. It’s gaining more attention in the non-corporate world too, such as in education, whereby the focus isn’t solely on performance and educational attainment, but also on tracking how well students are dealing with their emotions, and on how we can help them to boost their self-esteem and discover their talents.”

Read the whole article in ea. magazine

Professor