The concept of culture is commonly known as a set of behaviors that we can see collectively among people. However, if I take it into the context of an organization, culture includes such behaviors, but it also involves the values and ways of working of the people who make it up.
The challenge of this is that, unfortunately, the nature and origin of the human being make us beings that we seek to survive, which makes us constantly alert or defensive in our environment. This is why, it is easier for people to react negatively to any situation, than in a positive way. An example of this is that of all our day, we are more likely to remember the bad, difficult, and challenging things than those that generated positive emotions since the stimulus that occurs throughout our body as a result of the “bad” is very different.
Hence the importance of positive culture, which helps to generate consenting efforts where people and processes are aligned towards behaviors that are positive.
There is a research by Barbara Fredrickson that I personally like very much in which she analyzes the ten positive emotions that lead us to a feeling of well-being and fulfillment, and even makes people more creative and a mindset of growth.
These emotions give us a compass about the catalog of things that we can create to then generate a positive culture. Being the following: Joy, Interest, Serenity, Gratitude, Fun, Pride, Wonder, Inspiration, Hope, and Love.
Starting from the definition of what positive culture is, Barbara Fredrickson guides us on a good path to understanding it more thoroughly. For example, in the world of work, we can experience a lot of stress due to the effort it requires, so it is natural that the environment is complex, and a positive emotion that could counteract this, would be serenity. So, it is important that leaders consent to ask their employees to do mindfulness practices to live this emotion. Or even counteract the feeling of jealousy or job competition by promoting gratitude and gratitude for the effort of others. This is just to mention a few real applications.
Complementing what Barbara says, when you live in a negative situation, the human body is going to react chemically to that stimulus. In her research, she finds that, for human relationships and work, it is necessary to compensate with three positive emotions for each negative. And, with people with whom you have a stronger bond, this number goes up to five positive emotions for a negative one. Therefore, it is very important to become aware of what you feel and how we can stimulate the positive.
The impact on companies, organizations, and institutions.
The main impact that this culture has is in the involvement of collaborators or people who are part of the same environment. For this, Gallup is introduced to these spaces, one of the most important research centers in the world in labor issues, being the one that has the greatest samples in its research where they detect that, to the extent that you create a culture of communication, positive, of work, focused on what does work and not on what does not, which makes the collaborators feel like part of something bigger than themselves.
There are organizations that, by implementing these work models, increase productivity by up to 80% and reduce turnover by up to 30%. For this reason, it is well known that if there is an important component linked to productivity, level of involvement with the organization, and sense of belonging.
If you don’t have the resources to improve the efficiency of an organization, a big bet is to implement a good business culture. It requires no resources, other than an attitude of creating and implementing these positive practices. The same can be applied to organizations or educational institutions.
Mentoring becomes relevant in the sense that it is the way in which you can recognize what is working for the person, allow them to orient their efforts towards something that will give them better visible results, and generate a thread of hope and clarity about the next steps that must be implemented once the mentoring process is finished.
In this process, the reality of the person is not always considered, and it is a question of marking a path from the experience that one has. However, if mentoring is taken from a positive culture, it must come from an ability to know how to recognize what the person is doing well.
That is, it is to remove the programming that we must analyze what does not work and try to correct what another person does because maybe we already lived it. And the mentor isn’t being given a chance to find out on their own.
Positive mentoring follows three main phases: what I ask you to keep doing and, even, looking for how to empower and help. Orient, referring to the mentor’s experience, in what probably will not lead to the expected results. But, above all, giving clarity on the following things that the person should do to achieve their goals.
For the latter, I like to ask the question of “Tomorrow, what is going to be one thing you’re going to start doing differently that allows you to keep moving forward in your personal project, life plan, or your work”.
At that point, we already heard what works and what doesn’t, but it’s up to one person to make it clear how the next step should be taken. So, when this question is asked, the mentee is taken into a very simple context to prevent them from becoming overwhelmed and starting to act. Another example is: “of everything we saw, what’s going to be that 1% that you’re going to start doing differently?”
This being something extremely important in the follow-up sessions to connect the process of interaction and continuous improvement from leaving an open door.
Mentoring is key in the development of people, but it is important to consider that people should be given the opportunity to become aware of the things they are doing well to potentiate and generate positive emotions that lead to being implementing and creating new things.
What I recommend for a better mentoring process is to know the strengths of character. I may have a way of working, but it’s likely that for the person I mentor it won’t work because it’s not within their strengths. In this retrospective of what could be done differently or better, the strengths that Martin Sellingman and Peterson have are key. Where, the personality traits that have been maintained constant over time are analyzed, so that from them you are invited to solve or develop some problem or area of opportunity found considering who the person is.
In conclusion, positive mentoring from the strengths is based on “I do not want to tell you how, I want you to discover it, but taking as a reference how you would do it according to who you are”.