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  • When people use their strengths at work, they experience a peak in positive affect (full with energy, excited, enthusiastic), work engagement and they flourish.
  • Personality has a role to play how successful are employees in using their character strengths

A great attention to the strength-based approach emerged from the positive psychology. Seligman’s (2002) model of happiness suggests that demonstration of character strengths positively affects employee’s well being and performance which was repeatedly confirmed in many studies later.

Character strengths may be described as ‘a capacity to behave, think, or feel in a way that promotes well-being – optimal functioning in everyday life’. Or in other words, traits that promote adjustment to the environment. Such characteristics as creativity, bravery, social intelligence, gratitude, humour, playfulness, curiosity, zest, etc. How individuals use their strengths depends upon context, values, and interests.

Previous studies report, individual strengths of character facilitate social functioning, performance, well-being and life-satisfaction. This might be because when people can use strengths they are better off in dealing with environmental challenges.
Moreover, in a work context, organizational support for strengths use can help employees deal better with high and accumulated job demands and also facilitates work engagement and proactive work behaviours. Positive affect and work engagement are both well-known indicators of subjective well-being.

A recent paper reports extraversion, emotional stability and low in neuroticism help people to successfully use their strengths to deal with job demands, feel enthusiastic, and achieve work-related goals. Extraversion is the tendency to be self-confident, active, optimistic and often experience positive emotions; neuroticism is characterized by low self-esteem, optimism, and self-efficacy, and helplessness, social anxiety.

All aforementioned findings have a direct implication for individuals and organizations at large. Organizations and managers should facilitate employee strengths use. When employees are encouraged and motivated to utilize their strengths during at work they experience high positive affect, more dedicated, and can be authentic which are directly linked to job performance, client satisfaction, and financial results.

Furthermore, in addition to the organization’s support, study shows employees themself can proactively increase their daily positive affect and work engagement by using their individual strengths (e.g., humour, social skills, and playfulness).

…We all have within us seeds of different character strengths – a unique strength profile. These are our best asset… we just need to skillfully apply, develop and enrich it. Pique your curiosity, spark creativity, let your unique sense of humor shine…. tapping into your strength at workplace could create a growing self-propagating ‘virtuous’ circle.