Whatever Is Admirable – Wed – 21-04-14



With billions of dollars flowing through the global economy, and the competition among companies both large and small, everyone is looking for an edge. Every good manager in every company seeks to motivate team members. He or she wants a high performing team. So managers work to give criticism or should we say “constructive feedback” to employees. Many also praise them. In fact, corrective feedback and praise for a job well done are both needed, but research has shown that an ideal ratio of praise to criticism exists. In the highest performing teams, employees receive over 5 times the amount of positive comment to negative comments.

The same researchers also looked at marriages. They discovered the couples that were least likely to divorce shared positive comments more than negative comments. I know, big shock! But amazingly, the positive to negative comment ratio was nearly the same as the workplace —  5 positives to each negative.*

This sounds like a very practical understanding of the impact of focusing on whatever is admirable. Another nuance of the word, is whatever is of good report.  When people focus on positive comments, it improves their performance. I’m sure it helps their overall attitude as well! And sharing positive comments also nurtures the marriage relationship. So now you know the secret: 5 positives for each negative.

Here’s my challenge for you today. Give at least 5 positive comments to other people before you make a single negative comment.


*Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, “The Ideal Praise-to-Criticism Ratio,” Harvard Business Review, March 15, 2013,  https://hbr.org/2013/03/the-ideal-praise-to-criticism

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


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