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Position good news in this format to motivate your colleagues/clients

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What do we do when we receive good news?

We share it with people who are important to us, either with our family or friends. We have learned that our positive experiences are multiplied when we share them with someone else.

A recent study by researchers Nathaniel Lambert and his colleagues has shown the benefits of sharing positive experiences with other people.

They examined and recorded the moods of participants who have either shared their good news with someone else, wrote about it, or just shared neutral information with another person.

Based on the data gathered, they found out that there was a significant benefit in sharing your good news with friends rather than just writing about it. People were more positive, happier and enthusiastic. 

This is good news (excuse the pun), in terms of motivating your workforce, as previous research suggests that happier more positive people are better performers, experienced more satisfaction in their career, and suffer from less psychological strain in the workplace (have less time off).

However, does sharing good news last?

Does it have a long-lasting effect in the workplace and on performance?  

The researchers followed up with a second study that investigated how long the benefits lasted.

They tracked the participants’ moods for a month and found out that people who shared their good news with others at least twice a week were happier and more content with their lives than those who did not.

Is it enough to share though?

Not so. According to the findings of Lambert and his team, the other person’s reaction to your positive emotions is also important.

To get the benefits given by sharing positive experiences, the person you’re sharing it with must display an active-constructive reaction, too, meaning, the person will show sincere enthusiasm, excitement and true happiness for your good news. 

Otherwise, the expected benefits will not be as strong or as long-lasting.  

Lambert and his colleagues investigated this phenomenon more by having pairs of people take two different tests separately. After the tests, each of the pairs were informed that their respective partners were told about their test results. 

The researchers then gave false feedback via email from the partner (supposedly), in four different formats:

  1. Active-constructive feedback (show sincere happiness at the good news).

  2. Active-destructive (belittle your achievement and make it look like it is bad news instead of good).

  3. Passive constructive (give praise but with little enthusiasm or excitement).

  4. Passive destructive (no acknowledgement).

The results showed that participants whose good news received active-constructive reactions from their partners had twice as many positive emotions than the others who did not.

The researchers, however, couldn’t say how receiving an enthusiastic response to our positive emotions can make us happier. The main takeaway they identified from their studies was this: how we react to the good news of people around us is an indicator of how healthy our relationship with them is. 

In the context of the workplace, this finding is very significant. It provides insight into how important it is for leaders & managers to correctly respond to their colleagues’ emotional states and how providing positive responses affect intrinsic motivation in the workplace. 

The EBW View

No matter what the reason may be, sharing good news provides a lot of benefits and it is clear that the emotional reaction of the receiver is crucial in order to improve one’s relationship with others and develop their motivation to succeed.

Given all these benefits to the workplace, how can leaders & managers develop an active constructive response (ACR) to help motivate the team? 

Here are some ideas:

  • Build in time for team members to share positive news and take the time to explore the "positives things" that are happening in your team members lives.

  • When a team member shares good news, encourage them to talk more about it by saying, "What happened?" or other related questions. Show enthusiasm and acknowledge its importance to your team member. 

  • Listen attentively to their responses and grow their positive emotions by asking follow-up questions, such as what it is about the news that makes it very exciting to the person.

It is worth noting that many of us who work in global organisations may have to think more carefully about our reactions and how our responses impact on colleagues from different cultures to our own. 

Understanding the appropriate active constructive response (ACR) that will develop and motivate others may not be as simple as being excited or asking questions about the "positive things" in people lives and such an approach may have negative consequences if used in the wrong cultural context.  

However, what this research does do is provide further support for the importance of building Emotionally Intelligent teams & organisations to ensure leaders and teams automatically think about their emotional reaction to others to ensure they work in positive, happy, successful businesses.

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Based on over 20 years of worldwide use and research, it enables you to get leaders and teams to understand why they behave the way they do and use a highly effective 10 step framework to improve their occupational performance.

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