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I’ve always thought of ‘Positive Thinking’ as some psychobabble that I don’t have time for! I think positive thoughts and smile at people…what more do you want! But, I have to confess, reading Harvard Business Review’s recent post – The Powerful Effect of Noticing Good Things at Work – helped me understand the impact positive memories can have on stress. It also made me think how mangers play a big part in this on those around them. Are we installing positive or negatives memories on our teams?

I’ve described the importance of observing in a manager’s role, this helps building habits of spotting anything different or new around you. Even noticing a tiniest thing could have a positive influence on someone else. Does someone have a new shirt or haircut, did someone in your team go out of there way to help someone else, or did someone pro-actively make a bug fix? We may think it’s nothing, even feel stupid to mention it, but how would that person feel if you praised them for it? It might be the one thing they look back on in the evening!

A positive comment doesn’t cost us anything, for the recipient it could mean everything! It shows you’ve noticed and care enough to say something. For relationship building and trust this can be huge!

What most people don’t realize is that positive experiences — even small ones — provide you with valuable resources that can be used to reduce stress, including physical symptoms such as headaches or muscle tension.

As their survey showed people recollect even the smallest of events that affected their day. Working in stressful environments it’s important we’re not adding to the stress but providing positive memories our teams can draw from. Of course this is not easy, some days are pretty relentless, so the more we can make observing a habit the easier it is. I’m not claiming to be a master at this either…it’s a skill I need to continuously improve.

Other benefits of this easy-to-implement and inexpensive exercise include potential increases in creativity. Creative thinking and innovation are enhanced by positive emotions, especially feelings of contentment and joy. Growth, development, and forward thinking arise from positive emotions.

The “three good things” exercise is not something I would want to impose on my teams but I do believe we can at least aim to give positive memories. The evidence seems to prove that it’s beneficial to the continual growth and development of the team, making it a priority for every manager!

If the members in your teams focused on their day, would something you said or did for them come to mind in a positive way?

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