Monday, July 14, 2008

Building Positive Productive Relationships

Over the past decade, social scientists have explored the impact of positive-to-negative interaction ratios in our work and personal life. They found "the magic ratio" can be used to predict, with remarkable accuracy, everything from workplace performance to the level of satisfaction in marriage. This work began with noted Seattle psychologist John Gottman's exploration of positive-to-negative ratios in marriage. Then, psychologist Barbara Fredrickson and mathematician Marcel Losada found the same phenomenon applied in work organizations between persons must have a positive-to-negative ratio of 5:1.
What does this statistic mean? That the number of verbal communications between 2 persons must consist of 5 positive comments/compliments/affirmations to each negative comment/criticism/derogatory remark; otherwise the relationship will erode and possibly be significantly damaged. For example, Gottman's research with married couples predicted with 94% accuracy the couples who would divorce or stay married but be seriously dysfunctional; the ones where there was less than a PNR of 5:1. Fredrickson and Losada found significantly reduced productivity, low morale, and poor team spirit in companies where there was less than a PNR of 5:1 between managers and their direct reports or between co-workers.
These findings provide us with some very practical steps to take in building positive relationships and providing the right kind of example to others. Let's model a positive attitude and keep the positive comments coming to friends and family; direct reports, colleagues, and customers.
Referenced from the book; "How Full is Your Bucket?"