“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!” … Mae West
I appreciate you! You are wonderful! You are amazing! You are loved! You are enough!
With COVID2 the sequel taking place around the world, we cannot be reminded enough of the power of appreciation. While preparing for another of my “Difficult Conversations” courses (more on that soon, I promise!), I’ve been diving into the research on effective teams and appreciation shows up there too.
Losada & Heaphy studied 60 business teams, measuring the impact of the ratio of positive comments (“I agree with that,” or “That’s a terrific idea”) to negative comments (“I don’t agree with you” “We shouldn’t even consider doing that”). The success measures they examined included financial performance, customer satisfaction ratings & 360-degree feedback on the team members (team members answering anonymous questionnaires about each other).
The factor that made the greatest difference between the most and least successful teams was the ratio between positive comments and negative, sarcastic or disparaging ones. Like the work of John and Julie Gottman with married couples, the average ratio for the highest-performing teams was also 5:1 (five positive comments for every negative one).
The medium-performance teams averaged 4:2 (twice as many positive comments than negative ones). The average for the low-performing teams was almost three negative comments for every positive one (1:3).
This fundamental practice of appreciation seems to apply to all social relationships.
Here is the rub. When we are suffering from acute stress (like in a protracted pandemic) our resources get depleted and there is more of a tendency to notice the negative, have rigid thinking and go into blame. So, that’s why it’s important to remind each other to:
- Be calm
- Be kind
- Be safe
These words, repeated daily from British Columbia’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, act as a tonic to our stressed-out brains.
Let’s add: Be appreciative.
I appreciate you! And the more specific we can be with our appreciation, the more it lands as authentic. I appreciate you because you take the time to read this newsletter and your readership means I have someone to contribute to. Thank you for the opportunity and privilege to do so!
Now go out and love someone!