In October of 2021, I facilitated a virtual interactive workshop at the Out & Equal (O&E) 2021 Workplace Summit . For those who are not familiar with Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, they are a 25+ year old non-profit organization supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion. Their website defines them as “the premier organization working exclusively on LGBTQ workplace equality. Through our worldwide programs, Fortune 500 partnerships and our annual Workplace Summit conference, we help LGBTQ people thrive and support organizations creating a culture of belonging for all.”
The 2021 Summit was attended by 10,000+ LGBTQIA+ folx and allies. Many Fortune 50 companies were sponsors and speakers including: JP Morgan Chase, IBM, Nike, Boeing, Oracle, Accenture, BNY Melon, Capital One, Deloitte, Proctor & Gamble, Hewlett Packard, SAP, Blackrock, Liberty Mutual, and Lockheed Martin.
My virtual workshop was on “Sustaining LGBTQIA+ Success with Optimism, Resilience, and Grit”, and was attended by hundreds of people. In this workshop I shared findings from a recent (2020) study from McKinsey & Company LGBTQ+ voices: Learning from lived experiences in addition to my work and research on positive psychology including optimism, resilience, and grit. The chat was FULL of participation and engagement in the content. Here are a few of the questions they asked.
Questions and My Answers
What is the best way to transfer resilience to those who’ve yet to attain the skillset on my team?
The best way to build other people’s skills in positive psychology competencies — including optimism, resilience, and grit — include sharing the simple ways to practice and using resilience yourself at work. As a leader, if you demonstrate strong resilience skills, it often will have a ripple effect on others in your workplace. On the other hand, if you as a leader or members of your team do not have a high level of resilience, this will have a negative ripple effect on your team and organization. A worker’s lack of resilience is likely to affect not only their own performance but also the functioning and well-being of their colleagues and team. I suggest sharing the PERMA model by Dr. Seligman as a simple way for people to start. PERMA stands for Positive Emotion, Engagement, Positive Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishments.
What is the best tip you can give to someone who is new to this concept?
Positive positive psychology skills and competencies can be strengthened at any age! For those who are new to this area, I suggest reading some of my short blogs that talk about these competencies, what they mean, and easy ways to practice. These can be found at https://www.sarahscala.com/blog/category/Positive+Psychology. Another way to learn is to read Dr. Martin Seligman’s book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being. Seligman is the founder of Positive Psychology and teaches at University of Pennsylvania.
Do we have data on how developing these characteristics may be different for neurodiverse folx?
This was an excellent question and one that I did not have experience with at all. In an article on Autism Spectrum News Dr. Jill Krata, PhD shares that “Positive psychology, at its very core, seeks to identify and understand human strength. It involves looking at what characteristics help a person be resilient in the face of adversity and it looks at what goes right, even in the face of bad situations. The unique perspective of positive psychology is that it functions from a strength-based rather than a deficit- or pathology-based foundation, where the primary focus is on augmenting positive personal traits to maximize meaning and engagement in life, as well as positive emotional states.” Also ExceptionalIndividuals.com has a great blog that shares 10 ways for neurodivergent people to build resilience against challenges at work. Some of these ideas include: making diverse connections, avoid seeing challenges as unbeatable problems, sustaining a positive outlook of yourself, and looking after yourself.
If was an honor to have the opportunity to speak at the Out & Equal Workplace Summit, and I look forward to future opportunities to collaborate with this wonderful organization!!
Self-learning on this topic? Check out our new Digital Course Optimism, Resilience and Grit: Sustaining Success at Work and Home.
About the Author:
Sarah Scala is an LGBTQ senior talent management leader and executive coach with 20+ years of experience providing organization development, change management, and leadership development solutions for diverse global and local industries. She is a collaborative consultant, coach, and educator supporting performance transformation of executives, leaders, and teams. Sarah is a methodical, results-driven leader recognized for helping clients reach their highest potential, increase revenue, reduce turnover, elevate business profitability, build competencies, and improve performance. She lives in Boston, MA USA with her partner.
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