The Losada Ratio on Positive Employee Motivation

This week, we're diving into team motivation. It turns out that it matters not just what you say but how often you say it. So, let's explore the Losada Ratio and how it can transform your team's motivation.



A few years back, researcher Marcial Losada discovered something incredible. Positive feedback tremendously impacts people's motivation, driving them to excel with enthusiasm, determination, and creativity.

The magic number that Losada discovered is five point six (5.6) positive comments for every negative comment. For every critical comment, it requires, on average, 5.6 positive comments just to neutralize the one critical thing. Yes, you heard me right; 5.6. Teams that receive such a ratio, according to Losada's findings, outperform others by leaps and bounds.

The Losada Ratio showed that a supervisor's positive comments significantly influence employee motivation. Imagine the power of more uplifting words than critical comments on your team's performance.



Make regular "positive" bank deposits.

Stephen Covey, the author of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People," said, "We're either making deposits or withdrawals from others' emotional bank accounts." And it aligns perfectly with the Losada Ratio.

Daily, you should be making deposits into your team's emotional bank accounts—positive feedback, encouragement, empowerment, trust, and belief in your team.

Then, when you have to withdraw in the form of constructive criticism (because, let's face it, you need to do it sometimes), your team will be more resilient. They'll understand that it's for their growth, and will not be viewed as an attack.

The Losada Ratio has been disputed in some circles. However, like Covey, think about the kind of camaraderie, teamwork, and morale you would like your team to have. The spirit of Losada's research still holds true.

As a supervisor, it's not just a one-to-one ratio you're aiming for. The Losada Ratio tells you to set the bar much higher. 5.6 positive comments for every critical comment - just to keep it even.



Catch them doing it right.

Challenge yourself to be a professional noticer of what your team is doing right. Here's how you can make this happen. Go looking for the things your team is doing right. Look for opportunities to feel proud of their accomplishments. Then, spend five minutes at the end of the day jotting down the positive things you noticed your team doing. It'll prepare you to start tomorrow's morning meeting on a positive note.

Embrace the spirit of the Losada Ratio, and you'll see your team's morale soar. It takes no particular skill to criticize, that's why so many mediocre supervisors do it so effortlessly. The real art of being a great supervisor lies in uplifting your team.

Keep those positive comments coming to your team, and watch them thrive.


Topics: safety culture, supervisor leadership, positive supervisor