The Positivity Ratio
a. Marcial Losada studied high-performing business teams. One-way mirrors watching various business teams working with each other. Recorded and coded every remark made. Tracked data especially three dimensions on whether remarks were: 1) Positive or Negative; 2) self- or other-focused; 3) based on inquiry (asking questions) or advocacy (defending a point of view).
i. Over 60 teams—The top 25% of high performing teams scored high in positive comments, being other-focused and inquiry observations by researchers. The bottom 30 teams scored low in business results (profitability, etc.) and had high scores in negative comments, self-reference and advocacy—the exact opposite of high functioning teams.
ii. Positivity Ratios: Losada’s research team discovered that high-performing teams had a 6:1 positive-to-negative ratio. Low scoring teams had a 1:1 ratio and mixed-performance teams had a 2:1 positivity ratio.
iii. Negativity has a powerful effect, about 2 to 1 over positive. We respond far more to a boss’s negative comment than we do to a positive one. So, bosses, be careful.
iv. Negativity and teams: Low-positivity teams lose their cheer and flexibility. They defend, deflect, self-refer and advocate. Instead of listening, they only wait for their turn to advocate their position.