Why Board Members Should Be Engaged in Supporting Enhanced Wellbeing

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Why as board members, we should not view enhancing well- being as ”woo woo” but be engaged in supporting it. For several decades I have served on boards, served clients and served the stakeholders of businesses-shareholders, executives, regulators and employees.

It was when I was undertaking research for my doctoral dissertation that the penny dropped; namely that the scientific foundation underpinning positive psychology is very compelling when applied to a business.

Why is that? Enhanced well- being is more than words. When sought for and the principles of positive psychology applied, benefits abound.

What are the benefits? Greater team collaboration, sustained happiness, higher career earnings, better health (less sick days), stronger career potential, better community member, happier employees etc. etc.

What are the core drivers in positive psychology? Positive emotions, being engaged, positive relationships, a sense of purpose, seeking accomplishments or achievements and I would add a focus on vitality (health, nutrition and exercise).

All of the elements of positive psychology are important and all are required to be focused on in order to enhance one’s well- being. This is a skill that can be trained for, learnt and perfected.

Neuroplasticity has demonstrated the capacity of our brain to rewire, which is exactly what as board members we should be encouraging across an organization to achieve the benefits from an enhanced state of wellbeing.

While I was focusing on my doctoral degree in Human Development, it occurred to me that since as board members we owe a fiduciary duty to key stakeholders in a business, then surely a board member’s role should include addressing an enhanced state of wellbeing, at least so far as it concerns the business or institution on whose board we serve or advise.

The benefits of an enhanced state of wellbeing derived from positive psychology are proven, demonstrated and significant. Thus I advocate that we should support and promote agendas that address enhancing the wellbeing of a business and its stakeholders.

This includes being aware of and supporting programs, coaching initiatives and education that address mindfulness, meditation, understanding what brings meaning to the self, how to develop positive relationships (and eliminate negative ones), why it's important to strive for achievements and the power and benefit of positive emotions (or how to mitigate negative ones).

Positive psychology has developed only over the past 15-20 years, yet it has global applicability and is gaining wider consensus. Today it is being embraced by more and more companies.

That's why we, as board members or advisors should seek to understand and embrace wellbeing and realize that it is not a “woo woo” theory but sound science, which when synergized with professional coaching can be a powerful way to drive a business or institution forward and enhance the wellbeing of all individuals who are involved as stakeholders in the business or institution, whether employees, executives, owners and of course also including board directors or advisory board members.

Dr. Andrew S. Kane