How to Stack the Deck In Your Favour

I’ve been talking with a lot of workplace groups lately about this one leadership skill. It is the ability to overcome the negativity bias we all have, and thereby increase our positive emotion.

Why? Because as the ratio of positive to negative emotions increases beyond 3:1, we become better negotiators, we see more possibilities, and we are more resilient and optimistic, among other measureable benefits.

And yet, without a focus on practices that can bring about this shift, most people measure about 2:1. (Measure your positivity ratio at if you’re interested. This site belongs to Barbara Fredrickson, one of the prominent researchers in this field.)

We’re wired to look for risks, and that’s important when we’re in danger. But most of us spend too much time in fear, which keeps us in the fight-flight-or freeze part of our brain. A few daily practices can gradually lead us to be using our frontal cortex more often, building the mental resources we need to be more open, accepting, creative and innovative.

What if everyone on your team was practicing too? How would that shift your team culture?

One of these practices is gratitude, which is simply writing down three or more things everyday that you are grateful for. When you do this practice regularly, it literally changes the pathways in your brain. After practicing awhile, your brain starts to look for the good more often.

When you practice, you get that extra hit of dopamine or serotonin that takes you to your frontal cortex.

A similar thing happens when we meditate regularly or use other mindfulness practices.

We have much more influence over our minds than we often realize, and these practices help to stack the deck against the negativity bias that we all have.

How will you stack the deck in your favour today?

Follow this blog for ideas to create your “better place to work” with Deborah Connors. To delve deeper into these practices and more, join Deborah in her Leading A Better Place To Work course.

Deborah Connors

Deborah Connors teaches leaders to radically shift culture so that people can flourish. She is an engaging speaker, storyteller, author and coach.

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