Positive Psychology and Being a Good Teammate: How Justice Character Strengths lead to Authentic, Courageous, and Exemplary Followership, Positive Institutions, Flourishing, and Heroic Upstanders for Positive Citizenship and Stewardship for the Common Good
Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS)
Increasing, organizations and society are moving away from top-down leader-centric approaches, and leadership, management, and political studies are increasingly focusing on followership. This paper proposes a conceptualization of followership under the Justice Virtue in the Character Strengths (Peterson & Seligman, 2004) classification, using this to bridge the divide between followership in organizational and societal contexts, and linking multiple elements of positive psychology to followership theory. Identity formation, innovation, teaming, distributed and servant-leadership are also examined with a positive psychology lens. I argue at the conclusion the Justice Virtue should be the “Citizenship” virtue, as these elements are prerequisites for positive citizenship through organizational citizenship behavior and citizen empowerment and engagement in communities, and are necessary for enhancement of social capital (Putnam, 1995; 2000) and for the development of heroic (Zimbardo, 2007) upstanders (Power, 2013). To support followership, I argue these Character Strengths should be taught in citizenship and civics classes, and in service-learning and Positive Youth Development (PYD) contexts. While “followership” still has a negative connotation, this paper supports previous efforts to show followership is more vital than ever for the outcomes we desire and is the first to analyze followership in positive psychology. This paper also supports an expansion of looking at leadership and the positive institutions and civic engagement components of positive psychology, helping lead to “good teammates” who contribute through positive interventions for the “commons,” and the overall “common good” and success we aspire for in our organizations and flourishing in our communities.