Hopeful workers are more creative.
Executives at a top financial services group took part in creativity study conducted by Suzanne Peterson of Arizona State University. These execs were given two weeks to come up with as many high-quality solutions as possible to a complex problem. The more hopeful executives produced better, more creative solutions, and submitted many more solutions, possibly strategically, knowing that some would not be viable. Other hope and creativity studies show that hopeful people also are good championing creative ideas.
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Hopeful workers are better during times of adversity and change.
They are resilient in the face of economic adversity and organizational change. Accordingly, research suggests that hope is a more significant predictor of performance in start-up businesses than in more established firms. Why? More hopeful employees love a good challenge and marshal extra psychological and social resources when asked to perform in difficult situations.
Hopeful workers are happy.
Have you ever met a happy, hopeless person? I haven't. When Gallup asked one million people if they smiled or laughed a lot yesterday, the hopeful said yes much more often than did the hopeless. Because of this observation I decided to take a closer look at the overlap between hope and happiness with the help of psychologist Matt Gallagher of Boston University. We asked people if they were hopeful and satisfied with their lives, then measured the presence of good feelings and the absence of bad ones. According to well-being expert Ed Diener of the University of Illinois, someone who is satisfied with life, experiencing positive emotions, and not experiencing negative emotions meets the basic criteria for a happiness diagnosis. We wanted to know if being hopeful predicted (or was predicted by) these symptoms of happiness. Indeed, hope proved to be a strong, unique predictor of satisfaction and emotions. Hope is a symptom of happiness. And hopeful employees are more likely to be happy.
Hopeful employees are the difference makers in our modern economy. Someone who believes she is part of something bigger, that she is making the future better for herself and others, gets more done.
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Shane J. Lopez, a Senior Gallup Scientist, a leading authority on the psychology of hope, and author of "Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others" (Atria Books). Visit makinghopehappenow.com and follow on twitter @hopemonger.