Emotional Tone: How your level of Positivity Impacts Your Success

Emotions play a huge role in our daily lives and they are so infectious that it is CRITICAL that you understand the impact of low Emotional Tone in your organisation and most importantly, what you can do about it!

Have you ever worked with someone who was always in a bad mood or negative?

What impact did that have on you? Can you describe the impact it had on the rest of your team… what about the impact it had on your results?

This MasterClass focuses on moving mood and emotion into a positive register – is it possible? And if so, HOW do you increase the Emotional Tone of your team?


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[Video Transcription Below]


Welcome to the Great Managers® MasterClass and Mentoring webinar.

Our MasterClasses are about providing you with new information, engaging with you, and interacting. Plus of course, answering your questions and supporting you in your learning.

The thing I like most about these MasterClasses, is we have people from all sorts of different organisations attend. They’re a great opportunity to learn from each other and support each other in the learning.

What I’m going to show you in this MasterClass will:

  • Help you understand the link between emotions and results
  • Give you some strategies to increase the Emotional Tone in your team and business.

Emotions are one of those things that can derail a lot of things at work.

Poor Workplace Causing Conflict,emotional tone


I still work with people occasionally who say things like, “Let’s leave the emotions out of it,” or, “There’s no place for emotions in the workplace.”

The reality is that emotions are everywhere.

Facts about Emotional Tone at Work

People take their humanity to work every day.

They take their happiness, their excitement, their enthusiasm, as well as their frustration, disappointment, their anger, their sadness and their worries.

Also their mood patterns; they take those into work as well.

They bring all of themselves into work and this results in emotions at work.

People have things going on in their lives.

They have exciting things but they also have difficult things.

They might be going through personal problems or have health issues, financial problems, or they might have issues happening in their family.

People are continually exposed to a wide variety of potentially arousing stimuli or triggers.

We all know that inappropriate or unchecked emotional reactions to such stimuli could impede our fit within a workplace or even with a society.

So, people engage in some form of emotional regulation or adjustment a lot of the time.

People handle emotions differently.

Some people are really sensitive and they take things very personally.

You’d be aware if you have people like that in your team.

Other people are quite matter-of-fact and they’re much better at compartmentalising emotions. They can put them aside and just get on with what’s happening.

The important thing is to know that emotional regulation is a skill. It’s a skill that can be learned and developed at any point in life, and we all have this skill at some level.

Some people are better at it than others.

People who are better at it are generally better because they’ve either learned the skills or they’ve had really good role models in their life who’ve helped them with that learning.

We’re going to have a look now at the research on these emotions and what we call positive Emotional Tone.

What the Research Says about Emotional Toneresearch,thoughts,goals

The Positivity Ratio

We use the Positivity Ratio in the Great Managers Academy, in relation to giving feedback.

It comes from Barbara Fredrickson’s book called Positivity and from another researcher called Marcial Losada.

The ratio can be used in a number of ways.  It’s linked with positive emotional states and resilience, or what Fredrickson calls “flourishing”.

That’s what we want. We want our organisations, our teams, to be flourishing.

There’s a number of other researchers who use this material. I mentioned Marcial Losada; he actually came up with the ratio itself, mathematically through research, and then he collaborated with Frederickson.

There are people like John Gottman and Robert Schwartz who talk about it as well.

Lasada is well known for his work in business. Frederickson is well known for her work with individuals and life generally, and Gottman is well known for his work in relationships and studying married couples.

Losada’s research was done with over 60 teams and he used a whole range of means. He was using video cameras and computers, coding everything these 60 teams did over a period of time, including people’s statements, comments to each other, their interactions and all their communication.

The researchers coded all this information into positive and negative categories, and what they found was::

  • High performing teams 6:1 –  In the high-performing teams (teams that were getting great results in terms of profitability, ratings from customers, evaluations by superiors, peers, and subordinates), the ratio was six to one. So there was six times as many positive interactions to negatives.
  • Mixed performance 2:1 –  In mixed-performance teams, the ratio was two to one. But they also found that at this level it was quite unstable and it could easily slip backwards.
  • Low performance below 1:1 – In low-performance teams it was below 1:1. So where teams weren’t getting results, when they looked at the data associated with their interactions, it was less than 1:1.

emotional toneAll the researchers I have mentioned found a tipping point of 3:1.

It’s only here at this ratio and above that positivity is in sufficient supply to seed human flourishing and be sustainable.

This is why we use it in reference to giving feedback. It helps your team flourish but it’s also important in terms of your own emotional state.

Are you in a positive state three times as many as you are a negative?

It’s not possible to be in a positive state all of the time because we are humans and life will throw things up at us, but it is interesting to know what your current ratio is.

You can actually take the test online. It’s called The Positivity Test.

You can find out what your ratio is and then monitor it over time. I’ve used this test a lot with leaders I’ve coached.

It’s not about taking the test every day. It’s taking it once a month and seeing how you’re progressing. Whether you can lift that ratio.

Because what you do matters in your team and if your Emotional Tone is positive, it’s more likely that your team’s will be as well.


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