Sarah Lewis

Positive Psychology in Business


101 Workplace Ideas and Applications

An organisation’s health is directly determined by the well-being of those within it. Firmly grounded in psychology and management research, Positive Psychology in Business shows how to play to strengths, lead with compassion and put people first.



An organisation’s health is directly determined by the well-being of those within it. Firmly grounded in psychology and management research, Positive Psychology in Business shows how to play to strengths, lead with compassion and put people first.

This accessible book draws together key ideas and techniques for applying concepts drawn from positive psychology and strengths-based management in workplace settings. It illuminates the application of various positive psychology approaches in a wide range of different workplace settings and cultures, so most readers will find examples that resonate with their own workplace and its challenges. In a series of concise articles, originally written for her Appreciating Change website, Sarah Lewis shows how any leader, manager, organisation or employee can learn from positive and appreciative concepts like playing to strengths, creating a feel-good workplace, building social capital, encouraging positive deviation, leading authentically, creating conditions for change, having courageous conversations and building happy teams.

  • A unique collection of short, practical, to-the-point articles on the application of positive psychology concepts and principles to business and the workplace
  • Shows how individual, team and organisational effectiveness can be enhanced by recognising the value of social capital and promoting the well-being of staff
  • Links positive psychology with strengths-based management and appreciative inquiry, and with dialogue-based tools for organisational leadership and change
  • Topics covered include strengths-based development, creating a positive culture, leadership gratitude, appreciative listening, creating hope, resilience, and flow


Positive Psychology in Business will be useful to anyone interested in the ready application of positive psychology to work settings. Leaders, managers, HR specialists, organisational psychologists and change agents working in and for organisations of all kinds including commercial, social and non-profit. Trainers, consultants, coaches and organisation development professionals.


ISBN: 9781912755578

Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd

Publication date: May 2019


Section 1 – Introduction
Positive psychology – appreciative and dialogue tools

Section 2 – Positive Change and Development
An appreciative approach to change – co-created change – social  capital – engaging people with change

Section 3 – Leadership
Make your own mission – appreciative leadership – common mistakes – leading through uncertainty

Section 4 – Performance
Screening high fliers – nudging – capitalising on strengths – keeping people engaged – positive deviance

Section 5 – Groups and Teams
Virtual teams – happy teams are successful teams – coaching to develop talent – fostering innovation

Section 6 – Emotions at Work
Willpower – creating hope – thank you makes a difference – the costs of rudeness – forgiveness

Section 7 – Skills and Experiences
The economy of strengths – divergent conversation – leadership gratitude – appreciative listening

Section 8 – Conclusion
Using positive psychology every day – applying flow – creating the positive and appreciative organization


Sarah Lewis is the Founder of Appreciating Change, a consultancy that applies evidence-based positive psychology to achieve dynamic workplace change at individual, team and organisational levels. Her clients include the European Space Agency, Aston Business School and Dublin City University, Singapore School of Positive Psychology, Oxford University Press, as well as engineering companies such as Vector Areospace and Aliaxis, and many small to medium sized organizations in both the commercial and not for profit sector such as Trinity Laban Conservatoire, The Housing Ombudsman and Simmons Bedding. Sarah has also worked with organizations in Australia and across Europe, particularly Scandinavia.

Since setting up independently in 1993, Sarah has amassed vast experience as a practitioner, lecturer and author. She is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Founding Member of the Association of Business Psychologists, and a post-graduate lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University. In 2017 she was presented with the award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Positive Work Practices’ at the Global Strengthscope Practitioner Conference. She has three previous publications in this area as well as many chapters and articles and is a national and international speaker on these topics.


  1. Dr Amanda Potter

    Sarah is a true expert in the world of Positive Psychology and her recent books grips you from the start. She starts by explaining that positive thinking is NOT positive psychology, and gives the reasons why. She challenges the reader to think differently about how and why to be more scientific in how they apply positive psychology in business.
    What I like about this book is that Sarah gives some simple yet practical steps for using positive psychology in a robust and scientific, yet pragmatic and usable way. She outlines the core methods for enabling a appreciate culture and provides step by step advice for solving people and team issues using positive psychology.
    Despite my 30 years of learning and working within the world of talent and psychology, I learnt something new in every section of this book. Thank you Sarah.

  2. Dr Mike Clayton

    This is my favourite kind of book by my favourite kind of author.

    It allows you to dip in and out easily. And yet, each visit is rewarded by a a new insight or a valuable gobbit of knowledge.

    And its author is able, at the same time, to convey both a great depth of knowledge and undestanding, and also a lightness of touch that makes her content easy to assimilate, evealuate, and apply. Sarah Lewis has no truck with shallow knowledge and pop wisdom. She is able to back up all of her ideas and recommendations with references to academic research.

    And the breadth of content and ideas she offers is fantastic. It shows the field of positive psychology in business is now wide and mature. I would recommend this book who wants to set out to:

    – Lead effectively – at any level
    – Create change in your organisation
    – Build and consolidate good workplace practices
    – Get better outcomes from the people aroud you

    My second highest accolade for a business book is to fill it with notes in the margins and on sticky labels. My highest is to sit it on the shelf directly behind my desk. That is where this is.

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