Connect by Focusing on the Positives

#8 Develop the Habit of Emphasizing Positives Psychologist John Gottman first observed that marriages were less likely to survive when the positive/negative ratio of interactions dipped below 5-to-1 (i.e. five positives to every negative). More recently the psychologist Barbara Frederickson found that a ratio of  3-to-1 applied in the workplace. Human beings need affirmation and recognition so get in the habit of looking out for ways to affirm and serve others. Do this by looking for task strengths and character strengths. Task strengths reflect the excellence of someone’s work. Character strengths reflect the way someone goes about his/her work.

For example, you might affirm a colleague by saying “Nancy, that was an outstanding website you created. The navigation design was easy to use, the writing was easy to understand and the color scheme was beautiful.” You might affirm Nancy’s character strengths by saying, “Nancy, I appreciate the way you persevered to make our new website happen. You showed wisdom and humility in seeking the ideas of others and applying the best ideas to the design of our new website. Very nicely done.”

This is the eighth post in our series entitled “100 Ways to Connect.” The series highlights language, attitudes and behaviors that help you connect with others.  Although the language, attitudes and behaviors focus on application in the workplace, you will see that they also apply to your relationships at home and in the community.

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