This post has been kindly written by 15Five! 15Five is on a mission to bring out the best in people at work. Grounded in positive psychology and growth mindset research, they offer a full performance management suite centred on continuous employee feedback.


When’s the last time you showed some genuine appreciation to a team member?

If you have to think about it, it’s probably been too long! It can feel like an uphill battle to promote positivity in the workplace, as humans are naturally negative creatures. You can claim to be the biggest optimist in the world, but a minor criticism in an employee review is a lot more likely to stick than that glowing compliment you got just one day earlier.

But without positive leaders to influence the working climate, employees will remain uninspired and reluctant to produce results. Where can you start?

Let’s see how you can simply promote positivity in the workplace.


Give Yourself Some Credit


You may have noticed that positive stories have a very short shelf-life, while bad news lingers. That’s because humans have actually evolved with a natural tendency to focus on the bad.

At work or in life, criticism is taken to heart more than positive feedback. We all tend to focus on our own shortcomings, rather than the tasks that have successfully been checked off the list.

You’re not alone, though: even the most successful people tend to focus on their faults. The creator of the most famous painting in the world and all around ‘renaissance man’, Leonardo Da Vinci, reportedly died bemoaning the fact that he didn’t produce higher quality work. No matter that he’d made an incredible impact on the world, helping to advance multiple areas in science and the arts!

Next time you spot yourself engaging in negative talk, pause. Can you lead by example and promote positivity in the workplace by giving yourself some credit and appreciation? Can you show others there’s difference between being positive…and bragging?



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Positive Input, Positive Output


Everyone can make a major positive change, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant it may seem to them. This is why it’s so important for leaders to be open to acknowledging the positives.



But what’s the big deal about promoting positivity in the workplace?

Well, it’s been proven that the most successful businesses are those that provide tools to help their employees succeed. Companies that build a strong and constructive work culture have an unmovable advantage over those who do not.

If you don’t know whether your actions result in a negative environment or not, don’t stress too much! An efficient way to figure this out is to try a couple of solutions and see how things change around the office.

For each piece of negative feedback, leaders should express support with five things they’re happy about. Click To Tweet


How to Build Your Happy Place


When it comes to a productive work space, open communication is the key to it all. Something as simple as incorporating a schedule of weekly one-on-one open conversations on performance can lead to an invigorated workforce.

These regular one-on-one meetings are a great way to foster both positive leaders and an environment of open communication. Regular feedback is proven to improve engagement and productivity, and gets employees more excited about completing tasks. This is the easiest way for a leader to directly influence goals completion, and boost confidence and productivity levels.

When trying to find a balance between providing too much or too little positive feedback, remember the ‘magic’ 5:1 rule. Studies have shown that for every one piece of negative feedback given, a good leader should try and express their contentment and support with five things they’re happy about.

Each leader has a responsibility to support their team. And effective, open communication is the key difference between a thriving and struggling business.


It may be human nature to look down on your achievements, but that’s where a strong leader comes in. Positive leaders support team members, express gratitude at work, and create space to allow them to thrive.

A little positivity never did any harm! Something as simple as recognition can promote positivity in the workplace and make employees more engaged, productive, and likely to stay loyal to your company.

So next time you engage with your people, think about whether you hear more positive or negative feedback. Can you counterbalance it with a word of encouragement?

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