Human beings are hardwired to notice and remember the negative things that happen in life. However, we are not doomed to dwell on the less than desirable events of life. We can choose intentionally to change our focus.
As leaders, we want to develop positive relationships. In order to do that, we have to maintain a positivity ratio of at least 5:1. In other words, we must have about five positive interactions with a person for every negative interaction that we have.
In order to maintain a 5:1 ratio, we need to be noticing and commenting on what is going right all the time! It can be a challenge because leaders are trained to look for and comment on problems. However, research on motivation tells us that commenting positively and showing appreciation for a job well done is very effective.
When I first began my quest to create positive relationships, I noticed that I wasn’t regularly saying even one nice thing to my family members in a day. I began to intentionally make one positive comment daily about something that each family member was doing or a quality they had that I admired.
At first, they were suspicious. They wondered, “What is Mom up to?” I kept doing it, and after a while, they began saying positive things to me and each other. The entire family dynamic improved.
We begin to create positive relationships by noticing what is going right both at work and at home. If we see someone doing something that we would like to see them do again, we should comment on it positively. We want to show gratitude for effort and action. The results are astounding!
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