Positive Emotional Attractor State
Positive Emotional Attractor (PEA) state happens when we are feeling positive and hopeful. When we are in a PEA state, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, so we are more relaxed, we breathe deeply, and we are more creative. We are also more open to new information.
When we are in a Negative Emotional Attractor (NEA) state, the sympathetic nervous system is activated, and we feel stressed and fearful. We are not creative or open to new information. As a result, we are not going to make our best decisions in an NEA state. (PEA and NEA were researched and defined by Dr. Richard Boyatzis, and he discusses them in the book Resonant Leadership.)
For leaders, this information means that we want to start meetings and conversations with what has gone right, rather than jumping in on what has gone wrong. We want to firmly establish everyone in a PEA state in order to ensure that they are open to new information and are at their creative best. Of course, we must deal with difficult issues, but it’s easier to do that if we establish some positivity and rapport first.
We also want to create as many PEA state moments as possible to maintain positive relationships. We’ve talked about our tendency to notice and comment on the negative. This is just a reminder of the power of positivity and creating positive relationships. Remember, in order to maintain positive relationships, we must maintain a positivity ratio of at least 5:1 for our interactions with others.
It’s best if we intentionally start conversations with something positive whenever possible. When we push someone into an NEA state immediately, they’ve already stopped listening and absorbing information. It’s not hard to create an NEA state. We can do it just by intimidating someone a little bit or making them feel uncomfortable. Great leaders create positive, non-threatening environments.
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