My good friend, Alix North, has taught me a great deal about “happy chi” – her unique and captivating expression of positivity, harmony, beauty, and joy. Our dog, Jake, (legal name: Joyful Jake the Chick Magnet) continues to teach me tons about having a positive approach to life. But my ultimate teacher of what we now call positivity was my beloved grandfather, Brownie. My Brownie deeply understood our human need for positive interactions many years ago. It’s thrilling to see behavioral science confirm his innate wisdom.
What is positivity?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary it’s “the quality or state of being positive”. Barbara Frederickson, author of Positivity and top researcher in the field of the impact of positivity in our lives, considers it the positive emotions of joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, pride, hope, inspiration, amusement, awe, and love. Losada and Heaphy, in The Role of Positivity and Connectivity in the Performance of Business Teams identify positivity as verbal communication that is approving as compared to communication that is disapproving (negativity).
Positivity = communication and interactions that stir in us positive emotions.
More than a vague desire for “niceness” in the office, work settings that elicit positive emotions deliver significant rewards from the desktop to the boardroom to the bottom line.
States of positive emotions, far from being superfluous, open us up in ways that make us more creative, engaged, dedicated, and productive. We’ve all heard of the flight or fight reactions we humans have when we get afraid. Fredrickson argues that positive emotions evoke other reactions in us: they broaden and build.
“Positivity opens us. The first core truth about positive emotions is that they open our hearts and our minds, making us more receptive and more creative.” And, says Frederickson , “By opening our hearts and our minds, positive emotions allow us to discover and build new skills, new ties, new knowledge, and new ways of being.”
What many individuals, organizations and teams are beginning to recognize is that increased positivity = increased productivity. Oodles of research confirms what we know intuitively, that when people are appreciated, welcome, can have pride in their work, have hopes for the future, and where there is more positivity than negativity, more good work gets done.
Here are some ways relationship coaching can help you build a more positive work place, and so get more of your good work done:
Reduce negativity by
Identifying and replacing toxic communication
Understanding the impact of privilege and how to use it positively
Addressing the challenges of organizational change efforts on morale
Ensuring your processes, structures, and rewards are aligned with your vision and values
Recognizing outside forces and their impact on your system
Clarifying messages, signals, and expectations to avoid fuzziness as well as negativity
Exploring organizational roles and how well they are inhabited
Increase positivity through
Direct, effective communication (even when you want to change behaviors)
Giving positive feedback and authentic acknowledgment
Exploring how to experience and express gratitude
Understanding generational differences and need
Creating productive work space through powerful alliances
Learning how to build alignment from shared interests
Establishing processes for addressing conflict as opportunity
Understanding the value of diversity
Building the 3:1 ratio that makes for thriving relationships
We design the coaching and training that best meets your organizational needs.
We all spend way too much of our time doing our work for us to live in an atmosphere of negativity, blame, shame, and dysfunction. Even if your team is not all that toxic, imagine what might be possible if you upped your positivity even a little bit?
Got questions? I’d love to hear from you. If you live near by, I’ll take you out for coffee or iced tea (compliments of my grandfather).