Negativity Bias

I've seen a lot of resistance to change over the years and I've left a lot of meetings where I've been asked, "Why can't so-and-so assume that we're working in the best interest of the company and all the employees?"

Now I have part of the answer - the negativity bias.

Here's what that means: our brains and bodies evolved to perceive danger and threats. For many of us day-to-day physical threats are not a major issue, but our minds are still wired to look for danger. They will continue to look for threats, even if the only thing there is emotional or potential emotional threats.

This slant towards the negative preserved our ancestors, but it can get in our way when we're in an unfamiliar situation, or when we're working with a client, or when we're trying something new, or when things change.

Knowing that our minds behave this way can be powerful in and of itself. It explains a lot. It helps us to empathize when we're the one asking for change and it should also help us be more self-aware of our own negative reactions and how it might be holding us back.

The big question is: How will you change your behavior? How will you alter your communication style in situations where you think you are likely to encounter the negativity bias?

Many thanks to Andrew Wien from Dynamic Leadership Center for bringing this topic to us and giving us ways to work through the Negativity Bias.

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