07 Jul Happiness at work with leadership based on positive psychology
What does the science of positive psychology tell us about effective leadership?
Until George Bush Jr. became president, the word “incurious” was seldom linked with American Diplomacy. From all accounts, Bush was extremely loyal to the people and groups he identified with, respectful of authority and order, and extremely committed to his values of security and tradition. Yet blatantly absent was the curiosity, the openness to change, that makes a president good.
In less than a decade, we experienced the terrorist attacks of 9/11, collapse of the subprime lending market, and the genome project where for the first time a species mapped out the recipe for creating itself. History is a sequence of novelty, surprising events, and discoveries. A leader who needs certainty and fails to be curious is at a major disadvantage. During the incurious George administration, government officials were consistently pressured to corroborate reports with the steadfast beliefs and gut feelings of Bush and his cronies. For eight long years, this presented an unsuitable climate for people to inquire, test hypotheses, consider alternatives, and interpret data before arriving at a conclusion. Bush’s legacy is a lesson on the danger of power in the absence of curiosity: the international community views us as a country that imposes its will without sufficient rationale.
But that’s in the past, let’s move to now, right now. It’s refreshing to hear Obama speak of his uncertainty about the future of the economy or foreign relations because anything less would be dishonest. For many, the image of him extending his hand to Chavez or talking with the leader of Iran is repulsive and inappropriate. At this exact moment, people from other political parties, media pundits, and even a growing section of the general public are lambasting him for being timid, for thinking instead of being rash and aggressive.
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