Using a Strengths Approach at BAE Systems

If you’re sceptical about the value of using Positive Psychology at work, and don’t think it can add much by way of improved business performance, think again.

In this article in 1st November’s edition of the CIPD Magazine “People Management“, Tim Smedley explains how global defence and aerospace company, BAE Systems, is adopting a common sense approach to using strengths at work, supported by Alex Linley, director of the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology.

According to Linley, it’s not about concentrating only on ones strengths and ignoring ones weaknesses altogether, it’s more about striking the right balance, and that will depend very much on your role and where you sit within the organisation. “Get your strengths up to an A grade – absolutely make the most of them. But if there’s a discipline that you’re not so good at, but that you need, then get that up to a pass, a C grade”, he says.

Of course, many business people do think Positive Psychology is for tree-huggers. As Linley points out, one of the results of using a strengths approach is increased employee engagement and well-being, however that wasn’t the main objective for BAE Systems. They had their sights firmly set on improving their business performance, and that’s exactly what a strengths approach has enabled them to achieve.

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