Coffee Talk: PsyCap: Discovering and Developing the HERO Within

What is the PsyCAP?

Psychological Capital (PsyCap) is a means to facilitate and quantify the impact that positive psychology concepts, like hope, efficacy, resilience and optimism (HERO) have in the workplace. PsyCap refers to the intentions for who you are and who you can become. 

Fred Luthans, PhD has been actively doing teaching, research and consulting internationally for over the past 35 years. He seeks to offer an evidence-based, positive approach to leadership effectiveness, well-being, and individual, team, and organizational performance.

He has authored several books, of which the most recent is Psychological Capital and Beyond.

In April 2016 Leader Series webinar, Dr. Luthans presented as part of IPPA’s Positive Psychology Leader Series. His presentation was titled, Positive Psychological Capital: Discovering and Developing the HERO Within for Effective Leadership, Well-Being and Performance. 


A synopsis of the webinar and references are provided below.

Psychological Capital, or PsyCap, is one of four types of capital within organizations.

Types of organizational capital:

  • Economic: what we have
  • Human: what we know
  • Social: who we know
  • Psychological: intentions for who we are, and who we and our staff can become

Key components of psychological capital (HERO):

  • Hope: having the will and the way
  • Efficacy: having confidence
  • Resiliency: bouncing back and going beyond
  • Optimism: positive attributions and future expectations

So what?

  • PsyCap can be established fairly quickly through group workshops.
    • For example, to increase efficacy, employees can be guided through gratitude exercises.
  • Social reinforcement increases PsyCap:
    • recognition
    • appreciation
    • positive feedback
  • Positive outcomes of psychological capital:
    • Increased performance
    • Decreased stress
    • Decreased turnover intentions

Now what?

  • By investing in PsyCap, employers can improve performance.
    • The return on investment for PsyCap training is over 200% in some cases.


  • Increased PsyCap is related to increased performance and decreased stress.
  • PsyCap can be increased through workshops and facilitation.


  • “You control choices!”
  • “Make right choices, choose to be mindful.”

Tools & Resources:

Members, please share your experiences, comments, and questions in the comments section below!