Effects of a Positive Approach on Teams

Research has been conducted on what the author’s of the following research study call “positivity” on creating highly effective teams.  Our experience working with hundreds of leaders has demonstrated that an appreciative mindset is a critical quality that sets good leaders apart from great leaders.  When we focus on leading from strengths, are optimistic and positive, and balance inquiry with advocacy we enhance our effectiveness as leaders.  

Compelling Research on Qualities of High Performing Teams

  • 60 business teams were ranked on performance based on P&Ls, customer satisfaction surveys and 360 reviews
  • Analyzed three aspects of team’s conversations:
    • Positivity vs. Negativity (P:N)
    • Inquiry vs. Advocacy (I:A)
    • Others vs. Self (O:S)
  • Found high performing teams had an average P:N ration of almost 6:1 and were balanced in I:A and O:S (1:1)
  • Found low performing teams were highly negative (P:N=1:20) and had I:A ratios of 1:3 and O:S ratios of 1:30
  • Found P:N ratio was the key driver in influencing the other two ratios


Losada, M. and Heaphy, E., “The Role of Connectivity in Performance of Business Teams:  A Non-Linear Dynamic Model,” American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 47, No. 6, 2004, pp.740-765