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Anesh Jagtiani

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How to infuse positivity at work


Positivity isn't just about wellness. Anesh Jagtiani gives us some good ideas for a positive, productive working environment.

The other day I was at a networking event and the CEO of an international company gave me his business card that said ‘CEO – Chief Emotions Officer’. I was quite intrigued by his title and asked the reason he had the title ‘Chief Emotions Officer’ instead of ‘Chief Executive Officer’. He said, “True wealth is not the money you earn. True wealth is the emotions you feel every day. If you’re in a state of positivity, gratitude and giving, you are wealthy beyond measure. My job as Chief Emotions Officer is to instil positive emotions and belief in my team so that they excel at work.”>

This got me thinking - does positivity in the work place have any impact on productivity and profits?

The Losada Line

Marcial Losada, a well-known psychologist and business consultant, has researched the subject of positivity and happiness. Based on his extensive mathematical modelling, 2.9013 is the ratio of positive to negative interactions necessary to make a corporate team successful. This means that it takes about three positive comments, experiences or expressions to fend off the languishing effects of one negative. Dip below this tipping point, now known as the 'Losada Line', and workplace performance quickly suffers. Rise above it - the research reveals an ideal ratio of six to one - and teams produce their very best work. Marcial Losada wanted to find out if positivity had any impact on productivity and profits.

Losada worked with a global mining company suffering from process losses greater than 10%; unsurprisingly, he found that their positivity ratio was only 1.15. But after team leaders were instructed to give more positive feedback and encourage more positive interactions, their teams’ average ratio increased to 3.56. In turn, they made giant strides in production, improving their performance by 40%. Though originally sceptical, the company’s CEO couldn’t help but exult in the 'notable transformation.'

He confided to Losada: “You untied knots that imprisoned us: Today we look at each other differently, we trust each other more, and we learned to disagree without being disagreeable. We care not only about our personal success, but also about the success of others. Most importantly, we obtain tangible results.”

How can you infuse positivity and recognition at work?

  • Start with you: You can’t give what you don’t have. You can’t give recognition if you don’t feel good about yourself in the first place. Start by exercising your signature strengths every day even if it’s for just 15 minutes. Your signature strength is something you love doing and can do with ease. If you love to write, garden, cook or paint just do it for 15 minutes every day. Doing what you love is putting your soul in action where you feel great about yourself. You need to feel good to do good.
  • Bragging: Give people a chance to brag about their employees in meetings. Chip Conley, a wildly successful CEO of a big hotel chain, asks his employees in every meeting to brag about another employee who deserves recognition for a job well done. This simple practice has improved both positivity and trust among team members. 
  • Positive scan: While interacting with your employees or co-workers, get into the habit of consciously looking for skills and attributes they’re good at and then give them the opportunities to use those skills.

“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.” – Benjamin Franklin

Anesh Jagtiani is learning consultant at Fitch Learning


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