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The focus on our new article is a dive into the captivating world of ‘Flow,’ a concept proposed by the late Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Rooted in positive psychology, Flow theory explores a state of profound focus and engagement in an activity, leading to a boost in satisfaction and productivity. A potent tool in the modern workplace and personal life alike, we’ll delve into a few of its key intricacies and also briefly discuss how it can be fostered within organizations.

Flow, in essence, is an immersive state of mind where you’re deeply engaged in an activity to the point where you lose track of time and external distractions. You’ve likely experienced it while engrossed in a compelling novel, skiing down a beautiful snow-covered slope, shooting hoops in a heated basketball match, or even engaging in a stimulating dialogue. It’s the exhilarating edge between safety and risk, where your skills are just sufficient to meet the challenge, resulting in a heightened sense of focus and accomplishment.

However, in stark contrast to this immersive Flow state, the “State of the Global Workplace 2023” report from Gallup paints a concerning picture. A massive 59% of workers are ‘quiet quitting,’ being disengaged but still employed, and an additional 18% are ‘loud quitting,’ actively disengaged and yet holding on to their jobs. This epidemic of disengagement costs the global economy an estimated $9 trillion.

To illustrate this issue more vividly, let’s consider three relatable examples:

Example 1: The Lost Artist

Here, we picture a talented artist who feels creatively stifled due to the monotonous, repetitive nature of their work. There’s a deep disconnect between their passion and their daily tasks, leading to disengagement.

Example 2: The Invisible IT Specialist

Next, think about an IT specialist whose vital contributions to the company go unnoticed. Despite being a linchpin, the lack of recognition often results in feelings of being undervalued and disengaged.

Example 3: The Confused Sales Associate

Lastly, envision a sales associate who is given a sales target but without clear strategies or goals. The uncertainty and lack of direction contribute to disengagement as they struggle to meet expectations, leading to a lack of flow and generally low morale.

The common theme in all these situations is a lack of Flow. This state, proposed by Csikszentmihalyi, represents an optimal state of intrinsic motivation where a person is fully absorbed in an activity. In the Flow state, there’s a balance between the level of challenge of a task and the individual’s skill, resulting in high productivity and enjoyment. This seems to be precisely what many employees are lacking: clear goals, autonomy, and recognition.

Armed with an understanding of Flow, let’s explore how we can nurture this state in our teams. Here are five practical tips:

Tip 1: Set Clear Goals

Having explicit guidelines and objectives provide employees a roadmap, fostering a sense of purpose and reducing ambiguity.

Tip 2: Grant Autonomy

Allow employees the freedom to make decisions related to their work. This sense of control promotes ownership and deepens engagement.

Tip 3: Provide Instant Feedback

Timely and constructive feedback helps employees adjust their efforts, aligning them better with the organizational objectives.

Tip 4: Balance Challenges and Skills

Ensure tasks are appropriately matched to employees’ skill levels. The right balance prevents boredom (if too easy) or anxiety (if too challenging).

Tip 5: Recognize Achievements

Acknowledging accomplishments boosts morale and provides a sense of belonging. Recognition fuels further engagement and commitment to the role.

To wrap up, fostering Flow at work could be a game-changer in increasing engagement and decreasing stress. Let’s strive to ‘grow with the flow’, harmonizing our work and personal lives for increased productivity and satisfaction. For more insights on Flow theory and workplace engagement, check out my book, “The MARVEL of Happiness: Principles, Stories, and Lessons For Living Fully.” Available here:

#Flow #WorkplaceEngagement #LifeLessons #MarvellousSuccessSecrets

*Link to Gallup Article:

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