For many years, researchers at University of Carolina at Chapel Hill have studied the effects of positive emotions on the way we think, on the way we interact with others, and on the way our bodies respond, right down to the cellular level where they have tracked the changes of the gene expression in inflammation related genes.
The director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab, Dr. Barbara Frederickson, has concluded from the generated data: Feeling good literally changes the way our brains work. Our awareness expands, and we are able to integrate more of what we see in our environment in creative ways. In other words:
When we feel good, we can see the bigger picture. We can connect the dots!
But emotions are short lived, so we have to cultivate this state of positivity, in order to become better versions of ourselves over time. What does this mean for leaders?
When you want to help someone improve, create positive emotions first.
This enable their receptiveness. Only when safe and positive, can they hear your growth oriented feedback. This also means that you need to build your own awareness of whether someone is in a safe and positive emotional state or not in any given moment.
Delivering feedback in the (positive) moment is the opposite way of how feedback is delivered in today’s scheduled and formalised annual performance appraisals. They essentially create spaces of tension and apprehension which push employees into a fight or flight mode long before the meetings have even started.
If you truly want to grow your people, give feedback in the moment and from an appreciative place.
This increases the chance of your feedback being heard and integrated.
You might now wonder how to increase your own daily dose of positive emotions. Meditation has been proven to have the biggest impact on our emotional state. And 10 minutes a day, are enough to start with and already have a positive effect.