As Chapter 3 demonstrated, strong positive relationships do not just occur by chance but are built on positive practices. Moreover, a great deal of research supports the idea that positive interpersonal relationships are a key to creating extraordinarily positive performance in individuals and in organizations.1 Positive relationships create energy and vitality, which have profound personal impact, including improved health and longer life expectancy. For example, people in positive relationships have less cancer and fewer heart attacks, recover from surgery twice as fast, contract fewer minor illnesses, cope better with stress, have fewer accidents, and have a longer life expectancy than people not in positive relationships.
Not surprisingly, the performance of organizations is also enhanced by the presence of positive relationships among employees. Positive relationships foster cooperation among people, so the things that get in the way of highly successful performance-conflict, disagreements, confusion, ambiguity, unproductive competition, anger, personal offense –are minimized. When positive relationships characterize the workforce, employees are more loyal and committed to their work and to the organization itself, and information exchange, dialogue, and knowledge transfer are significantly enhanced Creativity and innovation as well as the ability of the system to adapt to change are substantially higher as well.
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