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Effective Executive Magazine:
Creating Psychologically Healthier Workplaces
 
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The media is full of stories of leadership in organizations falling short though millions, perhaps billions, of dollars are spent annually on leadership development. This paper begins by reviewing some examples of leadership failures. It then provides case studies of “transitioning leadership” using positive psychological concepts and positive organizational scholarship practices to create psychologically healthier and more effective workplaces. These case studies demonstrate the benefits of compassion, respect, thriving, positive organizational practices (e.g., forgiveness, inspiration, meaning), virtuousness, and psychological capital in improving engagement, work satisfaction and interestingly, higher levels of performance. Suggestions for developing positive leadership attitudes and behaviors are offered. These were shown to enhance employee wellbeing and financial outcomes. But the reality is that bringing about changes in these leadership attitudes and behaviors will not be easy, but worth attempting.

   
The theme for this issue, “Transitioning Leadership”, can have various meanings. In this paper, I advocate transitions and changes in the way leaders behave which then results in transitions and positive benefits in their workplaces. We review research evidence in support of these viewpoints and offer examples of these vital transitions.

Consider the following leadership stories appearing in various media over the past year.
Harvey Weinstein, head of the major US film and TV production company, has been charged by over three dozen women with sexual harassment and sexual assault. Fiera Foods is an industrial bakery in Toronto employing a large number of temporary workers obtained from temporary worker agencies. Sara Mojtehedzadeh, a young female reporter for the Toronto Star, went undercover taking a job there. Fiera Foods hired her through an employment agency. She received only 5 minutes of training and was paid below the provincial minimum wage. Most employees at Fiera were temporary workers and immigrants to Canada. Three employees have died at this workplace since 1999. Fiera has been charged with countless health and safety violations over this time. It has been fined almost $500,000 for these violations and deaths, and required to undergo a safety audit by an outside firm (Mojtehedzadeh and Kennedy, 2017). Senior executives at Wells Fargo created a performance reward system that resulted in hundreds of employees creating “fake customer accounts” for their clients in order to receive rewards. Some executives have since been fired and the firm fined.
 
 
Effective Executive Journal,Psychological Capital,Developing Positive Leaders,The Bottom Line, Mindfulness Training.