The Business Case for Positivity

What good are positive emotions in the workplace?

As scientists study the brain and learn more about how we achieve optimal functioning, the term positivity has finally captured business leaders’ interests.

One study of CEOs showed that training to be more positive could boost their productivity by 15 percent, and managers improved customer satisfaction by 42 percent. Despite such training’s amazing results, many leaders remain completely unfamiliar with the concept.

Being positive isn’t simply about being nice and giving in, nor does it mean suppressing negative information and emotions. Both are critical for optimal performance. Apparently, however, a 3:1 positivity-to-negativity ratio is the tipping point for individuals and business teams to go from average to flourishing.

In business, positive emotions yield:

  • Better decisions. Researchers at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business studied how positive moods affect managers. Managers who were more positive were more accurate and careful in making decisions, and were more effective interpersonally.
  • Better team work. Managers with positive emotions infect their work groups with similar feelings and show improved team coordination, while reporting less effort to accomplish more.
  • Better negotiating. At Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, researchers learned that when people negotiate complex bargains, being positive surfaces as a contributing factor for success. Negotiators who strategically display positivity are more likely to gain concessions, close deals and incorporate future business relationships into the contracts they seal.

This article examines how positivity benefits business and how you can raise your positivity-to-negativity ratio and flourish.


This is a brief synopsis of a 1700 & 1000-word article suitable for consultants’ newsletters for executives and leaders in organizations. It is available for purchase with full reprint rights, which means you may put your name on it and use it in your newsletters, blogs or other marketing materials. You may also modify it and add your personal experiences and perspectives.

The complete 1700 word article includes these important concepts:

  • Emotions’ Role in Business
  • The Broaden-and-Build Model of Positive Emotions
  • Positivity and High Performance
  • The Tipping Point: 3:1 Positivity Ratio
  • Improve Your Ratio
  • Raise Your Positivity


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