How Can Positive Psychology Help You Be A Better Leader?

You may have heard about Positive Psychology. But, you may not know “What it is? Why does it matter to you? How can it help you or your team?”

Here are some quick answers and 5 riveting videos for you to share.

1. Let’s start with “What is Positive Psychology?”

In simple terms, it is the art and science of well-being. Think of you “at your best.” Maximizing your strengths. Asking, “What would make my life more meaningful” or “How can my team flourish?”

2. Why does it matter to you?

Here are some of the benefits of Positive Psychology:

  • Enhanced individual and organization learning
  • Improved social relationships
  • Better workplace performance and productivity
  • Enhanced problem solving and creativity
  • Increased job satisfaction

(Fredrickson, 1998E; Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005)

3. Now, how can it help you or your team?

Positive Psychology is a vast science with countless applications. The most inclusive model to describe well-being is called PERMA.


The PERMA Model was developed by my favorite psychologist, Martin Seligman. (We have met twice and discussed my research on positive psychology coaching.) I strongly recommend his seminal 2011 book, “Flourish”.

“PERMA” stands for the five essential elements that contribute to individual or team well-being. These are:

1. Positive Emotion (P)
For us to experience well-being, we need positive emotion in our lives. Any positive emotion such as gratitude, satisfaction, hope, curiosity, or love falls into this category. We each have subjective experiences of positive emotions.
I made a short video on Positive Emotion (P) for you. You can watch it here.

2. Engagement (E)
When we’re truly engaged in a situation, task, or project, we experience a state of flow. Time seems to stop, we lose our sense of self. We concentrate intensely on the present. We excel at challenging tasks. You can increase engagement for yourself and your team.
I made a short video on Engagement (E). You can watch it here.

3. Positive Relationships (R)
Humans are social beings and good relationships are core to our well-being. You can develop meaningful, positive relationships with others. We can measure fMRI images that describe the quality of your relationships. We can develop better relationships and accelerate behavioral or performance outcomes. (That was my dissertation research.) Curious about the details?
I made a short video on Positive Relationships (R). You can watch it here.

4. Meaning (M)
Meaning results when we serve a cause bigger than ourselves. Your meaningful outcome may be quantitative (e.g., earn $100k/year or give away 15% of earnings per year). Your meaningful outcome may be qualitative (e.g., care for your loved ones or serve humanity in some way.) We all need meaning in our lives to develop well-being.
I made a short video on Meaning (M) for you. You can watch it here.

5. Accomplishment/Achievement (A)
Many of us strive to master a skill, achieve a goal, or win some competitive event. Achievement defines us. Or not. Accomplishment is another element that contributes to our ability to flourish.
For specific details, I made a short video on Accomplishment/Achievement (A). You can watch it here.

Now that you understand the PERMA model, I hope you will use it to increase your well-being and help your teams flourish.

P.S. Let me know how you are flourishing?

P.P.S. Let me know if you like this long-form email or if you prefer the shorter ones?

Action leads to learning.  What are you waiting for?

To contact Doug Gray, CEO, PCC, call 615.236.1892 or contact us here.  Today.

What Is More Important For A Leader – Identity or Reputation?

Before you answer my question, let’s define both “identity” and “reputation”.

Identity: is how you see yourself.
Reputation: is how others see you.

Now, back to the question: What do you think is more important for a leader – Identity or Reputation?

Pick one before you read ahead or watch this video clip.

Here are some interesting facts regarding identity and reputation:


  • Self-awareness is inflated and inaccurate.
  • Self-ratings of performance underestimate our capabilities.
  • Less predictive of career success than feedback from others.


  • Other-awareness is variable and biased.
  • Based on what others think I do or say.
  • More predictive of future performance than self-ratings.

So, what’s more important? The answer to my opening question is Reputation.

That may seem counterintuitive. Executive presence is defined by reputation, NOT self-identity. Let me explain this with a short video.

Video Link - What do you think is more important for a leader - Identity or Reputation?

P.S. What do you think is more important for a leader – Identity or Reputation? Reply to this email. I would love to know your thoughts on it.

Action leads to learning.  What are you waiting for?

To contact Doug Gray, CEO, PCC, call 615.236.1892 or contact us here.  Today.

What is leadership?

This could be a long discussion.  But I’d rather keep it short.


Leadership is influence.  Nothing more, nothing less.


The word “influence” implies results.  The influence may be slight or even negative.  The influence could be momentous.  The influence could be focused on relationships, such as the number of new people you meet each month, or the value you provide to others.  The influence could be focused on results, such as the number of new sales per quarter, or gross revenue per year, or goal attainment percentage.


If you need an academic definition of leadership, here is a current favorite:  Leadership is defined as the process of influencing others, and facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish shared objectives (Yukl, 2013).


Too many people confuse the words “leader” and “manager.”   So perhaps another definition is helpful.   Here is a distinction based on Marcus Buckingham’s research of the Gallup Poll data, plus interviews with thousands of people.


Leaders: by definition, rally others behind a vision of a better future.  The core skills of leaders are optimism and public.  Think of your self, or your favorite leader, on a stage, leaning forward, describing a better future.   They have influence.  Or not.  The capacity of leaders is infinite, based on research in positive psychology.


Managers: by definition, maximize the productivity of others.  The core skills of managers are coaching and private.  Think of your self when you need to make sure that others produce a result, such as increase a sale or host a remarkable executive retreat.  Note that the skills you use are different than the skills you use as a leader.  You will coach Shawn differently than you will coach Ellen.  No one likes to be managed. And no one boasts about being a manager.  But when I ask an audience “How many of you are managers?” over 60% will raise their hands.  Virtually all managers are now “working managers” tasked with both maximizing productivity and getting the work done.


However, everyone wants to be a better leader.


A key coaching question is:  What influence are you having on others?

Call Doug at 704.995.6647 today if you want to have a greater influence on your self or your team.

Or schedule your initial consultation here.


What are you waiting for?

Download this list of services and investment levels now:

2012 Energy Leadership Project results: Top challenges in the next 12 months

In February, 2012, we surveyed 24 energy industry leaders in the Charlotte, NC region.

Here are their responses to the question:  What are the most significant challenges facing your company in the next 12 months?

What do you think of this data?


1.  To see the complete survey results from the 2012 Energy Leadership Project, reply here.

2.  To be included in the 2013 Energy Leadership Project, click here.

3.  For comments or questions, call Doug at 704.895.6479.













2012 Energy Leadership Project Results: top competencies in the Charlotte, NC

In February, 2012, 24 energy industry leaders responded to a short survey.

Here are their responses to item #3:  What are the top 3 competencies of the top leaders at your company?

What do you think of these responses?

1.  For the complete 21012 Energy Leadership Survey results, reply here

2.  To be included in the 2013 Energy Leadership Survey, click here.