Get your ratio right...

Each day we have numerous interactions with our colleagues, team, staff and our customers. Some of these interactions are great, others make you wanna throw up in your mouth just a little.

In thinking about the types of interactions that you have with each of these groups, take time to consider what is your ratio between positive and negative interactions. How many times to you give a positive comment versus a negative comment?

If you're like Dorothy from Kansas, then you've probably been dishing out double rainbows and lollipops all day. If you're more akin to the Wicked Witch of the West then it's likely everyone you see resembles one of those creepy flying monkeys.*

Psychologist Marcial Losada uncovered a really cool ratio (Losada's Ratio) which provides us some interesting reflection.**

The Losada ratio is the minimal ratio between positive and negative human interactions required for individuals to flourish, and is found to be approximately 3:1. 

In easy speak, that means if in your relationship you are having less than three positive exchanges for every negative exchange, you are heading into dysfunction.

According to Losada whilst the actual mark (2.9013) minimal ratio required to lift teams and relationships above dysfunction, dysfunction also occurs when the ratio exceeds 11:1. In other words, when there is too much honey, people drown in it!

The optimal level that is used by high performing teams sits at about 5:1 to 6:1, so while the majority of communication is positive in it’s delivery, high performing teams also hold each other to account.

It of course begs the question. Where is your ratio currently sitting?  

* I still get nightmares about those freakin' weird monkeys. They're worse than Chucky, but not quite as bad as that super-creepy kid from The Children of the Corn

** As with most social research the instant something becomes popular and makes sense, some other social researcher has to discredit it through other research. That's how science rolls. Losada has his fair share of detractors, but I like the face validity of the ratio. It just seems like common sense.