Psychological Capital is defined by Luthans, Youssef, and Avolio (200&) as “an individual’s positive psychological state of development and is characterized by: (1) having confidence (self-efficacy) to take on and put in the necessary effort to succeed at challenging tasks; (2) making a positive attribution (optimism) about succeeding now and in the future; (3) persevering toward goals and, when necessary, redirecting paths to goals (hope) in order to succeed; and (4) when beset by problems and adversity, sustaining and bouncing back and even beyond (resiliency) to attain success” (p. 5).
The authors refer to Psychological Capital as PsyCap and describe it as a higher order positive construct comprised of four-facet constructs consisting of self efficacy/confidence, optimism, hope, and resiliency (p.10). Researchers believe that this type of positive thinking can help meet many of today’s challenges faced by organizations. The value of these constructs is seen as a tool to using employees to their capacity. Luthans et al., discuss how businesses are not using employees to their fullest capabilities. Thus, employees do not feel challenged or valued. As the authors indicate, the best places to work are the places that challenge the workers to continue growing. These places help the workers feel they are contributing to something worthwhile. No longer are workers looking for a job where they can simply carry out their days until retirement. Workers are searching for opportunities, resources, flexibility, learning, and growth.
This new PsyCap approach can be used to gain competitive advantage because it is based on the generally accepted fact that most organizations today are not realizing the full potential of their human resources.
Researchers have found that authentic leaders understand that their responsibilities go way beyond the bottom line success of the company. According to the author, these leaders should be working toward building a sound governing system that will develop leadership for the company for generations to come. In Greenleaf’s work on Servant Leadership, the idea of working for a higher calling is prevalent. The following tips will help you as you work toward becoming a more authentic leader who understands the role psychological capital can play in the success of any organization:
· Develop your sense of self-awareness by listening to what others have to say about your strengths and your weaknesses
· Find out what your life’s passion is
· Bring out the best in those around you by encouraging them to find their passion
· Make a difference today! If not you, then who? If not now, then when?