If a team’s morale is low, check the leader’s positivity ratio

Low morale is a plague that can quickly spread through an organisation, significantly decreasing productivity and performance. It turns out that positivity is also contagious. And leaders can use their ‘positivity ratios’ to create contagion. By working with positive psychology trainers and coaches, you can successfully shift your behaviour and become an inspiring leader.

So what, exactly, is a positivity ratio? It’s the ratio of positive to negative feelings someone experiences in a specific timeframe. That timeframe could be the length of a conversation between a team member and their leader. This is why great leaders focus on their own communication patterns.

Smiling at a team member may be enough to shift their perception of you and lift their positivity ratio. According to the well known expert in relationships, John Gottman, the minimum positivity ratio for a flourishing relationship is 5:1. For every negative interaction you have with a direct report, you need to have 5 positive exchanges.

Leaders can also directly influence the behaviour of subordinates, to shift the positivity ratios of entire teams. Here are five tips positive psychology trainers recommend using to improve your positivity ratio in the workplace.

  • Express gratitude for hard work via an email or thank you note
  • Greet people with a smile and say hello as you pass co-workers
  • Take the time to celebrate workplace milestones or achievements
  • Always take a deep breath before responding when you’re feeling negative
  • Actively listen to suggestions and feedback from everyone on the team
  • Set achievable goals instead of setting the bar too high
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Do not overlook the power of positive communication in the workplace. To combat low morale, focus on increasing positivity ratios across the board. Work with your Human Resources or training department to build a thriving culture. If necessary, call on the expertise of positive psychology trainers from outside your business.  Staying positive and engaging in positive social exchanges helps foster a happier work environment. And with happier workers comes greater results for everyone.

About the author of this article:

Eleanor Shakiba is a positive psychology trainer. She has helped over 50,000 people to build confidence, presence and impact at work. Her passion is working with the ‘positive deviants’ in organisations – equipping them to think creatively and produce exceptional results. Eleanor is the author of the Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D practitioners. She also runs a range of retreats and workshops for trainers and facilitators.