Can’t solve that problem? Stay positive!

Can’t solve that problem? Stay positive!

At work, many types of problems can arise. Solving the problem is better than walking away from it. However, these problems sometimes require a bit of creativity or teamwork. On the work floor, a bit of positivity may improve creativity and, by extent, problem solving. It can be hard for someone to stay positive when solving problems but at work someone else’s attitude may help: that of your boss!

In this study, participants were assigned to a project leader with high or low positivity. Their respective leaders explained the situation: participants were supposedly participating in a regional level contest against other organizations on task creativity. However, the high positivity leader used positive speech to explain the situation whereas the other used negative speech.

Participants performed the so-called unusual uses task, where they had to generate new ideas on using familiar items. After the experiment, the leader’s positivity was significantly related to the originality of the employees’ ideas.

The results also show an upward spiral where positivity leads to more positivity. If someone acts in an optimistic manner, this will help others feel more positive as well and with that come multiple benefits such as creativity.

Reference: Avey, J.B., Nixon, D.R., & Richmond, F.L. (2012). Leader positivity and follower creativity: an experimental analysis. Journal of Creative Behavior, 46(2), pp. 99-118.

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