Positivity in the workplace – how it translates to $$ for your business

By Dr Adam Fraser | May 12, 11 02:27 PM

Does a sterile, serious environment equal success in learning or is an easy and relaxed approach the answer?

Many of us are taught to think that serious and stuffy equals good work, while fun and high-energy equals sub-standard results.

But when I began my quest to find out the truth, I was pleased to find a whole heap of new research with solid science behind it. What it shows is that when humans are in a positive emotional state their creativity and innovation skyrockets.

Positive emotions have been conclusively shown to broaden our minds to what is possible. In contrast when a person is in a neutral or negative emotional state, they tend to stick to their current circumstances. In other words, the pessimist may avoid disaster but they will never create anything new.

Berkley University showed that managers with greater positivity were more accurate and careful in their strategic decisions. Also interpersonally, they boosted their team’s morale and the teams were more co-ordinated and effective in their activities. The reason for this is that a brain in positive emotion is more effective at organising information, retaining information and the retrieval of information.

The University of Toronto actually showed that positive emotion even went as far as improving people’s peripheral vision so the brain could take in more information.

Finally, when we think of a negotiator or dealmaker we often think of a person who is poker faced, even-tempered, neutral and tough. However North Western University showed that negotiators that strategically displayed positivity were more likely to gain concessions, close deals, and incorporate future business relationships into the contracts they forged.  

Building this sort of positive environment in an organisation is not about having ping-pong tables, bean bags and karaoke machines. From the case studies I researched the main drivers of this type of culture are:

1.     Having leaders with an optimistic mindset who regularly express positive emotion.

2.     Regularly celebrating what went well and analysing why it went well, then building on it.

3.     Giving recognition and praise. In fact one study showed that project teams with a manager who was encouraging of their team performed thirty one per cent better than teams with managers who were less positive and less open with praise.

If you think positivity in the work place does not relate to serious dollars, think again.

AUTHOR CREDIT: Dr Adam Fraser is one of Australia’s leading educators, researchers and thought leaders in the area of human performance. He’s spoken all around the country for Business Chicks and we love him! Learn more at www.dradamfraser.com.au

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