An article in Thursday’s June 18th, 2015 issue of the RedEye proposes that the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup win could cost employers millions of dollars due to the plague of distraction blanketing the Chicago workforce. While it makes sense that surfing the web for tickets and attending the parade means that work at the office isn’t being done, it also means that positive emotion is being generated. And based on research, the camaraderie and connection of the Blackhawks win is going to pay more in dividends to our workforce than it may seem.
First, we need to acknowledge that humans require connection with others. As we savor the moments of Richards’ no look pass to Kane and the resultant goal, we share in a common event. Dr. Jane Dutton has identified creating high quality connections with others at work as a major contributor to increasing our energy levels, to decreasing our stress, and to increasing the rate at which we learn and become more effective change agents. In essence, taking the time to buy tickets, attend the parade, and follow the cup connects us with others which in turn increases our productivity once we do sit down to work.
The Blackhawks win has also created more than a fair share of positive emotion for the city. In research conducted by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, she describes the broaden and build theory of positive emotion which holds that positive states and emotions are essential. Positivity and optimism open us and broaden our ideas about possible actions. Consider how this could impact our work with the increase in creativity and innovation. People who experience more positive emotion are more resilient, have better relationships, and also experience greater levels of life satisfaction. This impact on our personal life spills over into our professional life. In Dr. Martin Seligman’s book, Authentic Happiness, he cites research in which the job performance of 272 employees was reviewed as well as the levels of positive emotion experienced within that time frame. It was revealed that individuals who experienced more positive emotion also received better performance evaluations and better pay.
But what if the Blackhawks aren’t your favorite team of all time? (First, you may not want to admit that out loud.) Fear not, talking positively about the success of others and celebrating that success is a form of what researchers call capitalization and active constructive responding. Dr. Shelly Gable and her team of researchers found that responding positively to another person’s success or good news benefits you just as much as the experience benefits them. Yes, even if you’re not a direct descendent of the Blackhawks fan club you can capitalize on the win as well.
The economics of positive relationships and positive emotion cannot be understated. The research is becoming more clear every day: Experiencing positive emotion and positive relationships (yes, especially at work) does more to increase our productivity and innovation than not experiencing them. So, not celebrating the Blackhawks win could actually cost us. Cheers to that!