Saturday, March 12, 2005

Negativity drains work-force productivity, economy, scientist says

Negativity drains work-force productivity, economy, scientist says

It didn't take a scientist to figure out that grumpy people make others feel lousy and feeling lousy makes them less productive at work.

But, in fact, researchers have quantified the effect of chronic negativity. And you'd never have guessed how expensive those scowls can be.

Negativity costs the U.S. economy $300 billion a year — and researchers consider that a conservative estimate.

Unfortunately, smiles and sunny outlooks can't be mandated in the company manual.

But managers can neutralize and even reverse damaging negativity through the measured use of employee recognition and praise.

And there's a scientific formula for that, too, said Tom Rath, global practice leader for strengths-based development for the Gallup Organization and co-author of "How Full is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life." Rath wrote the book with his grandfather, Donald O. Clifton.

Clifton died in 2003 and never saw the book published. He was a psychologist who pioneered the study of positive psychology and developed the dipper-and-bucket analogy that gives the book its title.

The metaphor goes like this: Everyone has an invisible bucket that is either filled or


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