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The School of Positive Psychology

What you will get: The 3:1 rule of feedback.


“What’s right with you?”


I am a psychologist.


And for many years my profession was all about focusing on what is wrong with people. And then trying to fix it.


But that all changed!


A guy called Martin Seligman came along and, based on some existing ideas from the world of humanistic psychology, developed a new school of thought – positive psychology.




What Seligman said is that instead of focusing on what is wrong with people, why don’t we study what’s right with people!


And you and I know that makes a lot of sense, right?


Think about a world where the emphasis was on what is right about people.


Think of the news headlines that…


…celebrate another successful project saving lives in Africa.
…report on the faithful husband who never cheated on his wife.
…share stories of human altruism and giving.


Puts a smile on your face just thinking about it ☺


And what’s more…


It makes sense from a bottom line perspective.


You see…


Positivity creates happiness.
And happy employees are more engaged, creative and productive.


And that school of thought lead to the findings of Professor Barbara Fredrickson, who created the magic 3:1 rule.


As a researcher studying the effects of positivity, she found that if a team of people working together is to feel content about working in the team, then there needs to be a ratio of at least 3 pieces of positive feedback to every 1 piece of negative feedback being shared in the team.


And that’s just “content”!


A 3:1 ratio of positive:negative feedback is just enough for team members to feel ok. If you want a highly motivated team, then you are looking at a 4, 5 or even 6:1 ratio!


Now think about your team for a moment…


What is the ratio of positive to negative comments circulating among your team members?


Could it be that there is a tendency to ignore the good things and take them for granted? And then focus mainly on what is wring and how to fix it?


Yet sadly…


Just like some of the original theories of psychology, this school of thought, focusing on what is wrong, is outdated and ineffective.


So why not take the 3:1 challenge?


Over the next month increase your focus on the type of feedback you are sharing with your colleagues, and challenge yourself to share at least 3 pieces of positive feedback or news to every one 1 piece of negative news you share.


And what’s more…


This is a win/win situation. Because each time you share something positive, you feel better yourself.


I’m off to share some positive feedback and news with the people around me.


How about you?


To your success







Steve Neale
“Europe’s Leading Expert on Personal and Professional Growth”


Psychologist, Executive Coach, EI Practitioner, Award Winning Trainer, International Author, Psychodynamic Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Mindfulness Instructor, International Speaker, Creator of the LPS, Creator of the Accredited Masters in High-Performance Leadership

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