Home > Empowering Women, Leading Teams > Why is POSITIVITY crucial for teams and relationships?

Why is POSITIVITY crucial for teams and relationships?

A perplexed team leader approached me with the following.  His team is bringing in the results.  Performing well.  Reaching quotas.  But he doesn’t understand why morale is low.  Why aren’t his people motivated…

What’s missing?

  • People are working so hard on their individual goals.  They don’t understand what connects them…  There’s no time.  Is there a need?
  • For sustainable teams.  For teams who want to maintain performance.  For teams who want to face new challenges, flux in the market.  Look to positivity…

Losado and Heaphy’s research shows that the POSITIVITY / NEGATIVITY ratio is a prime driver for performance.  (see post “what happens when teams CONNECT?!”).  When verbal communication in 60 highly diverse business teams was coded by researchers, it was very interesting to note how the emotional space was effected!  “High Positivity/Negativity ratios create expansive emotional spaces and low ratios create restrictive emotional spaces (Losada, 1999)”.

A powerful feedback system.  Support, encouragement and appreciation are shown to be a critical part in promoting human interation that brings results.  While sarcasm and cynicism dampen performance. Therefore, as the perplexed team leader has seen through experience: It’s not enough to set the goals, have the same values, work process and accountability.  Positivity factors must also be taken into account by teams.

What does the Positivity/Negativity data reveal?  “The P/N ratio showed strikingly different results for each performance category. For high performance teams, the ratio was 5.614, for medium performance teams was 1.855 and for low performance teams was .363. The P/N ratio for high performance teams is very similar to the one that Gottman (1994) found for couples that were able to achieve a harmonious and sustainable relationship over time. Gottman also found that couples whose marriages ended in divorce had a preponderance of negativity over positivity in their overall interaction over time, just like the low performance team in our study: “Dissolution is related to positive-to-negative ratios of less than one (there is more negative than positive), whereas stability is associated with ratios that are around 5.0” (Gottman, 1994, p. 331).”

It’s just straight-forward…  Improve positivity.  Improve performance.  For strong, viable teams and relationships!

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