Are you The Scholar or The Advocate?

Caroline Dillon

In a performance-obsessed work culture, we can learn a lot from positive psychology. Martin Seligman, credited as the discipline’s founder, defined positive psychology as “the scientific study of human strengths and virtue.” 

Taking the lens of positive psychology at work is more than an interesting idea—it catalyzes us to become our most effective selves. Instead of trying to improve by eliminating our weaknesses, we can discover and harness the power of our innate talents to zoom ahead. 

Humu designed our Work Styles around these principles to help you become your best self at work. 

Become your best self at work 

You might be asking yourself, “how can focusing only on my strengths actually make me more effective?” In a work climate where you’re asked to “be agile” and “do more with less,” it may sound idealistic at best. 

But what if the opposite is true? 

Flexing into weaknesses is a recipe for high effort, low yield. Marcus Buckingham, Head of Research, People + Performance at ADP Research Institute, notes that our ability to learn is inhibited when our energy is drained. The uphill battle results in exhaustion and limited capacity

Consider this: if you're an introvert who finds back-to-back calls or giving pitches draining, you'll likely find a job in sales much harder and more exhausting than one that allows for more heads down work. By identifying and focusing on your strengths, you’ll sign up for roles and spend time on tasks that naturally suit you, and spare yourself from the stress of the alternative. 

The key difference between positive psychology and toxic positivity, defined as refusing to acknowledge negative emotions, is that positive psychology acknowledges we all have bad days, make mistakes, and won’t excel in every field. Instead of pretending to “have it together,” positive psychology elevates the importance of our strengths and invites us to realize their full potential. 

With Humu’s Work Styles, you’ll uncover your superpower and untapped potential. Your superpower, or strength, is what you naturally do best, and makes you excel at what you do. Your untapped potential is a muscle you can exercise more consistently to become even better at what you do. 

Discover what intrinsically motivates you

Recognition plays a meaningful role in motivation. For example, Humu’s research has shown that employees whose managers regularly give them growth opportunities are 3.6x more likely to feel motivated by their work.

But extrinsic motivators (like recognition) are no substitute for intrinsic motivation. 

When you do something simply because you love it, you're intrinsically motivated--you don't need a reward to make it a worthwhile experience. On the other hand, if you're doing something solely for the reward, you're extrinsically motivated. 

Intrinsic motivation is positively correlated with higher job satisfaction, engagement, and fulfillment. Psychology professor Edward L. Deci, who first defined these two types of motivation, found that we tend to perform better and learn more when intrinsically motivated compared with when we’re  performing  a task only to receive a reward. 

That said, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation play off one another. Research shows that the best praise (and feedback) focuses on what the person values most about themself.  

Through Humu’s Work Styles, you’ll gain insight into what inherently energizes you. By sharing your results with your team and learning what motivates them, you can recognize each other more thoughtfully and create stronger working relationships.  

Unlock your untapped potential 

Humu created a 5-minute Work Styles quiz that is positive, actionable and can be integrated into the flow of work. In the quiz, you’ll rate 20 statements on topics ranging from conflict to decision-making to influencing colleagues. 

Based on your answers and our deep bench of meta-analysis, you’ll receive one of 16 Work Styles with personalized recommendations and insights on your superpower and untapped potential, as well as how to:

  • Enhance your day-to-day 
  • Stay energized and motivated at work 
  • Keep up the momentum with next steps 

You may be familiar with longer personality inventories  like DISC, MBTI, or StrengthsFinder. Humu’s Work Styles complements these typographies, by providing additional perspective on the application of your talents in the workplace and shared language to understand your team members.

How managers can apply Work Styles

In addition to empowering individual growth, Work Styles’ insights and recommendations help managers better understand, celebrate, and collaborate with their team members to create high-performing cultures. 

For example, in this week’s team meeting, ask team members to reflect on their personal answers to these questions: "What skills or expertise would you like to develop?" and "How can I—as your manager—help you get there?" Then discuss their answers in your next 1:1.

Many managers are leading through particularly difficult circumstances. Disruptive change is disorienting and can bring up big feelings. Our head of behavioral science, Dr. Rachel Callan, notes that shock events (i.e. layoffs,  organizational restructuring, etc.) are natural reflection points for employees. Managers should prioritize the projects and roles that energize their team members, and encourage self-discovery. 

For added learning, check out our resources on building connection at work and supporting your team through uncertainty