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Defining and measuring positivity in the workplace

Stuart Lacey

When analysing the state of a work environment, it is important to understand how the current dynamics can impact productivity. Although sometimes overlooked, positivity can be the source of significant organisational success.

Positivity often goes unnoticed, but its absence is felt. A sustained reduction in positivity decreases performance, connectivity, happiness, and motivation across the workforce. There is quantitative data to suggest that positivity has a resounding impact on employees and improves individual and organisational productivity.

Conversely, negativity is concrete and impedes individual and organisational performance. Within an office setting, one disgruntled employee can poison the moods within the office, impacting the productivity of all their coworkers in an emotional chain reaction. Not only is negativity contagious, but it is innate. Human beings have a negativity bias, meaning they more easily fixate on negative stimuli. This creates a psychologically unsafe environment where there is an unhealthy power dynamic between negativity, fear and concern for the future. This is the opposite of the trust, employee voice, and employee engagement that permeates healthy, positive and productive companies.

While there is research to support the concepts of positivity, there is limited scholarly work that produces a clear definition. We have developed a definition that encompasses all the diverse elements that comprise positivity.

Our definition centres around five fundamental elements of positivity:

1. Inspiration – the ability to motivate and lift up

2. Mindfulness – the ability to be fully present and aware in each moment

3. Happiness – the ability to feel a sense of joy

4. Optimism – the ability to anticipate the best possible outcome

5. Gratitude – the quality of being thankful

In addition to creating this definition, we developed a validated research assessment known as the Positivity Quotient. This score measures positivity, assigning a positivity score for an organisation, department and/or an individual. Using this data, our research team has identified a direct link between positivity and a more productive, higher performing work environment.

The continued development and adoption of these five elements as a way of life help to continually manifest productive changes in one’s life, and when amplified among other individuals, within an organisation.

Overall, positivity is the glue that binds an organisation to its desired future state. Analysis of data collected by our researchers conclusively demonstrates the fact that it drives organisational performance, permeating through all aspects of an organisation’s culture and strategic system.

Entrepreneur, leadership consultant and author Stuart Lacey is a co-founder and a director of Bermuda Clarity Institute. To learn about Bermuda Clarity Institute’s research on the impact of positivity in the workplace, download the white paper, Validating the Importance of Positivity in the Modern Organisation at www.clarity.bm

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Published July 05, 2021 at 7:56 am (Updated July 05, 2021 at 7:41 am)

Defining and measuring positivity in the workplace

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