Building high performing work teams

According to Dr Barbara Fredrickson, a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina, high performance team members communicate with each other in three specific ways:

  1. They make six positive statements to every negative statement.
  2. They are very responsive to one another.
  3. They ask questions as much as they defend their own views when they disagree.

Members of low performance teams behave the opposite:

  1. They make less than one positive statement to every negative statement.
  2. They are far less responsive to one another.
  3. They ask few questions to explore different points of view.

The first set of behaviours lead to high ratings for customer satisfaction, profitability and positive evaluations by colleagues. No prizes for guessing what the opposite behaviours lead to!

Discussion questions

What is your work team like? Do they ask questions when they don’t understand or disagree with someone’s point of view? What can you do to encourage more of this behaviour? How can you move your team towards a ratio of six positive statements for every negative statement? How responsive are your team members to each other?

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