Recent psychological research shows that increasing positive behaviour between people at work has two important benefits; people get less stressed and they work better. Positive behaviour is where people are respectful of you as a person and you feel appreciated. Negative behaviour is where people are rude, disrespectful and are too busy to give you the time of day.
Unfortunately, for many of us, the screws of work are tightening. The demands are increasing and the time available to do the work is shrinking. As people become more stressed they have less time to be positive to one another and more negativity creeps in. This can be a real problem because negative behaviour has much more of an impact than positive behaviour. If someone says something really nice to you at work and then another person says something nasty, then which one do you think about on the way home? It will be the nasty one, of course! Negative behaviour has more of an impact on us – we think about it for longer and in more detail.
Interestingly, a lot of new research shows that negative and rude behaviour can lead people to work much less effectively. Teams of workers exposed to criticism share information less readily, they make more mistakes and they give in much more quickly under pressure. One of the key factors is that people don’t feel psychologically safe. They worry that whatever they do they will be judged harshly and so they start to shut down.
Increasing positive communications and reducing negativity is now becoming a major focus in tackling stress and building productivity in the workplace. Reminding people of the importance of saying ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’, is not only good in itself, it’s also good for business.
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