How do you respond to a positive accomplishment shared by your colleagues, family, and friends?

Relationships are the golden ticket to thriving leading a team. It holds a team together and makes it more resilient, engaged, and happier. It’s a gift when someone picks you, especially, to share about their good news, excitement, or what they consider a success. It turns out that how we react to positive events is a better predictor of our relationship’s long-term success.

According to psychologist Dr. Shelly Gable, we could classify our reactions to positive disclosure based on two dimensions.

The Constructive – Destructive dimension where a constructive response may include a few positive suggestions and is encouraging, and the destructive response is discouraging and perhaps even demeaning.

The second dimension would be the Active-Passive; active responding shows interest and engagement, while on the other hand, passive responding shows no interest and detachment.

Classifying our response along these two dimensions, we get four different types of possible reactions to positive events shared with us:

  • Passive Destructive 
    The reaction shows a lack of interest, changes the topic, or shifts the conversation’s focus, hijacking the conversation.
  • Passive Constructive
    Don’t show authentic interests, distract, multitask, engage with a lack of enthusiasm, and don’t make a big deal of the situation.
  • Active Destructive
    A Joy thief. Focus on the potential negative outcomes and completely kill any excitement. Actively critics while creating doubts and concerns about the scenario.
  • Active Constructive
    Highly engaged, asking questions, showing genuine interest and enthusiasm, the conversation is pleasant and joyful for both.

Using Active Constructive Responding is more likely to help you develop more robust and meaningful relationships.

How could we start integrating this insight into a habit?

Acknowledge how we react, identify!
Name it! Do you immediately give advice? Or do you ignore them since you are so busy?
Practice! Be curious, learn more about it, ask questions!
Integrate the habit

Build up the habit:

a) Write it down in a post-it!
b) Wear something that reminds you!
c) Ask a friend to be your buddy and keep you accountable!
d) Set up an alarm in the morning that helps you remember your intention “Active Constructive Responding.”