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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The 20 Best Companies in the USA for Leadership 2010

For more, see - http://www.businessweek.com/careers/special_reports/20100216best_companies_for_leadership.htm

The Power of Positive Interactions

John Gottman's pioneering research found that marriages are much more likely to succeed when the couple experiences a 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative interactions whereas when the ratio approaches 1 to 1, marriages are more likely to end in divorce. Additional research also shows that workgroups with positive to negative interaction ratios greater than 3 to 1 are significantly more productive than teams that do not reach this ratio.

So what does this mean for you? For most of us, it means we need to increase the number of positive interactions we have at home and at work and reduce our negative interactions. We need to engage each other with more smiles, kind words, encouragement, gratitude, meaningful conversations, honest dialogues and sincere positive interactions. And to foster these actions we need to create personal and team rituals that help us interact more positively. If we make them part of our organisational process and individual habits they are more likely to happen.

For instance, at home you might decide to take a walk with your spouse each night after dinner and talk about the positive things that happened at work. The more you practice this the more it will become ingrained in your life. At work you might make it a point to smile at your co-workers and customers more often. As a manager you would spend more time praising your employees for the things they do right rather than always focusing on what everyone is doing wrong. Make it a point to personally praise 5 people every week. As an organisation you might gather all of your employees on a call once a day to share a positive message. Or perhaps you might gather your sales team together each week and have your team members share success stories. The ideas are infinite. The key is to intentionally cultivate more positive interactions to fuel success.

However, please know that this doesn't mean we should never have negative interactions. There is research by Barbara Fredrickson from the University of Michigan that shows if a work group in a company experiences a positive to negative interaction ratio of 13 to 1 the work group will be less effective. This implies that no one is willing to confront the real problems and challenges that are holding them back. Sometimes we need to confront a situation to move past it and, as we know, ignoring problems that stare us in the face doesn't work. Negative interactions are necessary so long as they occur much less frequently than positive interactions.

Positive interactions are essential to a healthy marriage, positive work environment and individual and team success. In this spirit when you are finished reading this, we encourage you to go thank someone at work or at home and let them know how they impacted your life in a positive way. Then make it a habit.

How to Become a Positive Leader

In the words of a 19th century American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, “ No man can for any considerable time wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered as to which is the true one.” You should therefore concentrate on building your inner character rather than building reputation or image. D. L. Moody said “if I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.”.

To become a person of integrity and a positive influencer, you need to develop the following qualities:

1. Fulfill your commitments-one of the surest ways to break trust with people is to renege on a promise. Hence never promise anything you can’t or don’t intend to keep. 

2. Live honestly- choose to be truthful; avoid telling lies. Avoid hypocrisy and duplicity; be consistent in your character with everyone. This will make people have good impressions about you.

3. Exemplify humility-People tend to distrust someone they perceive to be driven by ego, jealousy or an air of superiority. Humility is one of the hallmarks of an effective leader and a positive influencer.

4. Imbibe an attitude of service- leadership is all about serving others and not an opportunity to be served. Sir Wilfred T. Grenfell says “the service that we render to others is really the rent that we pay for our room on this earth.” Leaders are to give of their time, energy and gifts to others.

5. Do the first things first- Resist the temptation to do the easy and quick activities because these are often the trivial things. Zig Ziglar says “when you do the things you have to do when you have to do them, the day will come when you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.”