by: Christopher Groscurth
There is good empirical research supporting the fact that communicating and thinking positively are important for fostering extraordinary performance in work and life.
Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of Positivity (Random House), has conducted research that supports the fact that people with positive mindsets are qualitatively different from negative people.
Although all people encounter problems, those who remain open, authentic, and in touch with what is “good,” differ in their ability flourish in the face of adversity.
The tipping point at which positivity begins to positively impact peoples’ lives is the 3 to 1 ratio (i.e., three positive emotions to one negative emotion). Check out her free self-assessment tool to discover your positivity ratio.
However, merely thinking positively is not enough. We live our lives in relationships, groups, and in organizations (many of which are filled with negativity). Therefore, learning how to leverage positivity, and teaching others how to interact in open and authentic ways is a unique talent to develop in yourself and others.
Here are 3 strategies for leveraging the power of positivity:
1. Be Real by expressing your thoughts and feelings openly to others. However, you must also appreciate other peoples’ right to their beliefs, attitudes, and basic human dignities.
2. Express Positive Regard for others; appreciate the unique qualities that others bring to your team.
3. Use Empathic Communication when exploring how others are making sense of a challenge. Don’t be too quick to attempt to impose solutions on others’ problems, instead be present with them and try to understand their thoughts and emotional responses “as if” you were in their shoes-but don’t forget that you are in YOUR shoes.
Christopher R. Groscurth, Ph.D. is founder and principal consultant of BaRENaKED Communication (BNC). He is an expert on workplace communication, diversity, and positive organizational change. Chris started BNC to help business leaders leverage what social scientists have learned about human engagement and workplace communication. He blogs and answers questions about workplace communication at http://www.barenakedcommunication.com
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