Fierce Excerpts: The Scientific Power of Positive Encouragement

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Now Reading | Why Positive Encouragement Works Better Than Criticism, According to Science

I came across this article today thanks to one of our beloved Fierce clients, Paul Harrell. If you have spent any time at all on our blog, you know that we love science almost as much as we love advertising.

The premise of this article is that by focusing on positive interactions with your employees and encouraging an upbeat emotional state as often as possible, you’ll be more likely to have a happy and productive team. I wholeheartedly agree. Here are a few of the points that I found interesting.

Positive emotions generally work in an opposite way to negative emotions. So, while emotions like fear, anxiety, stress and anger narrow our focus, inhibit our concentration and decrease our cognitive abilities, positive emotions can do the opposite.

In his book Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships, Daniel Goleman explains that heightened prefrontal activity, which is associated with positive emotions, enhances mental abilities such as “creative thinking, cognitive flexibility, and the processing of information.” The left prefrontal area of our brains, which lights up with activity when we’re in a positive mood, is also associated with reminding us of the good feelings we’ll have when we reach a long-term goal.

Three things to focus on for positive leadership:

1. The two most important states: listening and showing empathy

Showing empathy to your employees helps them to develop a stable base at work, so they can feel comfortable to explore and take risks. This can lead to more creativity and better problem-solving within your team.

2. A caring boss is more important than what you earn.

*In a survey of employees at seven hundred companies, the majority said that a caring boss was more important to them than how much they earned.

Simply listening to your employees helps them to offload their negative feelings and release tension. Carrying around anxiety or frustration can hinder an employee’s performance, so try to tap into how they’re feeling on a regular basis.

3. Make interpersonal chemistry a priority

Especially in bigger teams, where you may not interact with each employee as often, ensuring that there is positive chemistry among team members could make a big difference to your overall company culture.