My friend, Brian Cain, used a word in a recent blog I hadn’t before. He talked about Negaholics – those people you can count on to see what’s wrong or what won’t work. What a great word and great images it conjures up! We all know those people. It’s the ones who default to the “glass half empty” view of life. The “it’s never good enough” crowd. It’s the people who believe that everything is a problem to be fixed. Negaholics.
Now that they have been identified, let’s talk about the energy we get from them. Here’s a clue – negative emotions are more powerful than positive ones. It’s the inbred human need to survive. We are hardwired to be on the lookout for threats. So it’s important to recognize the impact of a Negaholic. If I’m negative, what energy does that invite from you?
Positive psychology teaches us that a good organization is infused with positive interactions. To be a good, productive team, the ratio of positive to negative interactions is about 5 to 1 (5 positive interactions for every 1 negative one). By the way, positive interactions are easy – especially when they become default behavior. For example, if someone walks in the room and the leader looks up and smiles, that’s a positive interaction. Now, if the person walks in the room and the leader doesn’t even look up, that counts as a negative. Yep, that simple. So being positive is easy – it’s about being intentional and human.
Here’s where it gets even more interesting. If a good climate has 5 to 1 positive to negative, it’s important to know that great organizations have a positive ratio of 8 to 1. That means more celebration and less correction. (BTW. Don’t read anything that is not here – I didn’t say NO corrections. I said “less” correction). The message here is to have more positive interactions than negative ones – at a ration of 8 to 1 for a high performance team. It takes awareness and intention, but the payoff is real.
The bottom line: the leader holds the key to a team’s greatness. There isn’t room for Negaholics