Positivity and Positive Practices

Sunday, 25 October 2015
Published in Blog

Positivity produces success in life as much as it reflects success in life. Positivity works to broaden and build our lives. Broadening refers to the opening of the mind with increased attention, creativity and decisiveness. Building refers to the ability to craft a better life.

Research shows the benefits of positive practices include:

  • Increased resilience; increased ability to bounce back from stress
  • Increased curiosity and visioning
  • Expanded attention and thinking
  • Increased creativity and receptivity to others’ ideas
  • Increased scope for thought and action
  • Increased appreciation of others
  • Increased openness to possibility
  • Increased resourcefulness
“It takes courage to choose the positive as a daily leadership practice – especially in the face of poor performance. It is hard to let go of the tendency to criticise and instead be positive, caring and supportive.”
Diana Whitney

Seven reasons to be generous with appreciation: (Diana Whitney)

  1. Recognition lets people know they are on the right track; recognition is an investment not a reward
  2. Appreciation communicates and reinforces your values
  3. Compliments foster a positive emotional environment
  4. Gratitude is a verbal immune boost; it is good for your health
  5. Praise is good for the health of others
  6. Acknowledgment creates a sense of safety
  7. Gratitude encourages risk taking and experimentation

High Performing Teams: (David Cooperrider)

High Performing TeamsLow Performing Teams
+6:1 ratio of positive (strength-based & opportunity) focused dialogue to negative (deficiency focused) dialogue
1:3 ratio: one positive statement in the team for every three deficiency focused statements
+2:1 ratio of inquiry (learning focused questions) versus advocacy (closed positions) type conversation
1:20 ratio: 1 inquiry (open-learning type question) for every 20 remarks based on advocacy

Following are positive practices that can be incorporated daily, weekly, monthly – professionally and personally. Whilst the practices below are presented linearly, each practice interacts with and/or impacts other practices. They are dynamic, and it is through this dynamic that they create transformational shifts:

  • Positive energy—The impact of energy on others. Understand and test the positivity ratio of 3:1 (Dr Barbara Fredrickson). To what extent do you raise the energy of those you work with, those you lead? The impact of energy on self—how resilient are you?
  • Positive language—Reframe situations, phrases and questions. Reframe negative situations into positive desires. Develop and ask positive, generative questions to build generative connections. Use active and constructive responding vs. passive/constructive, active/destructive or passive/destructive.
  • Positive images—Identify the positive images of the present and of the future that you, your team, your organisation wants to create; embrace positive image of self and others. Dream about your future.
  • Positive emotions—Explore and embed the broadening and building effect of positive emotions; the undoing effect of positive emotions (Barbara Fredrickson).
  • Positive mindset and mindfulness—Understand growth mindset versus fixed mindset and the notion of unconditional positive regard … what does this look and sound like? Use mindfulness tools and exercises to build resilience.
  • Positive learning and positive coaching—Focus on strengths and successes, not weaknesses and mistakes.
  • Conduct a Team SOAR (rather than a SWOT)—strengths, opportunities, aspirations, results (Jackie Stavros).
  • Practice random acts of kindness.
  • Practice gratitude, be grateful. Positive emotion leads to positive action leads to positive emotion leads to positive action and so on ... grow an “appreciative eye” … at home and at work.
  • Savour goodness – be mindful of the current situation and explore the positive elements of the past. Share goodness with others.
  • Conduct appreciative check-ins.
  • Identify and apply your strengths.
  • Conduct a root-cause-of-success analysis rather than a root-cause analysis.
  • Develop Talent Identity Cards. Use co-inquiry to identity these talents.
  • Individuals, teams, organisations move in the direction that they study … study successes rather than mistakes; study high performing teams.
  • Follow your passions. Be curious and playful. Open your mind and heart to new perspectives, ideas and people.
  • Connect with others. Connect with nature. Engage fully.