How Full is Your Bucket?
Authors: Tom Rath & Donald Clifton,
Ph.D.
Megan Shaw
April 26, 2011
GERN 600
Spring 2011
Professor Lichty
Contents
The Theory of the Dipper and the Bucket
Case Study
What is Right With People
Bucket Filling in Organizations
Our Negative Culture
The Magic Ratio
Health and Negativity: Longevity
Five Strategies for Increasing Positive Emotions
Activity
Connection to Class Materials
Conclusion
References
Questions
The Dipper and the Bucket
Each of us has an invisible bucket. It is
constantly emptied or filled, depending on
our daily interactions with others.
Each of us also has an invisible dipper.
When we do or say things that increase
positive emotions in others, we are using
that dipper to fill their buckets.
Dipper and Bucket Cont.
Conversely, when we are negative, we are
using that dipper to decrease others’
positive emotions by dipping in their
bucket.
But, this works both ways. When we fill
others’ buckets, our bucket is also filled.
When we dip from others’ buckets, our
own bucket is emptied in turn.
Case Study
Clifton reviewed a case study of American
POWs that had been captured in camps
during the Korean War.
A phenomenon termed mirasmus raised
the overall death rain in the North Korean
POW camps to 38% (the highest in U.S.
history).
Case Study Cont.
Psychological warfare:




Informing
Self-criticism
Breaking loyalty to leadership and country
Withholding all positive emotional support
What is Right With People?
With the evidence to show how
much of an impact negative
emotions had on people, Clifton
set out to discover:

Can positive emotions have an
even stronger impact than negative
emotions?
Bucket Filling in Organizations
Constant bucket dipping in the workplace
has measurable consequences:






Poorer performance
Lower productivity
Decreased profits
Higher turnover
More accidents on the job
Lower customer satisfaction, innovation, and
quality scores
Bucket Filling in Orgs. Cont.
Actively disengaged workers cost the U.S.
economy $250-$300 billion a year in lost
productivity alone.
Why are there so many disengaged
workers?


According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, the
biggest reason for employees leaving their
jobs is because they do not feel appreciated.
65% of Americans received no recognition
last year for good work.
Bucket Filling in Orgs. Cont.
Employees who receive recognition and
praise:





Increase their individual productivity
Increase engagement among their colleagues
More likely to stay with their organization
Receive higher loyalty and satisfaction scores
from customers
Better safety records/fewer accidents on the job
Our Negative Culture
Dr. Elizabeth Hurlock:

What would happen when students received
different types of feedback?
4 Groups
1.
2.
3.
4.
Praise
Criticized
Ignored
Control
Our Negative Culture Cont.
Results:
Our Negative Culture Cont.
Overall improvement:



Praised: 71%
Criticized: 19%
Ignored: 5%
Praise is a secret weapon for productivity
and progress
9/10 people are more productive around
positive people
The Magic Ratio
3 to 1

Highest level of productivity
13 to 1



Decreases productivity
Inauthentic
Recognition is most appreciated and effective
when it is individualized, specific, and deserved
Health and Negativity: Longevity
Negative emotions can cause physical
symptoms
Positive emotions can buffer us from
depression and adverse health effects,
and may increase our life span as well.
Case Study: Nuns with positive emotions
lived 10 years longer
Health and Negativity: Longevity Cont.
Barbara Fredrickson on positive emotions:







Protect us from, and can undo the effects of, negative
emotions
Fuel resilience and can transform people
Broaden our thinking, encouraging us to discover new
lines of thought or action
Break down racial barriers
Produce optimal functioning in organizations and
individuals
Build durable physical, intellectual, social, and
psychological resources that can function as ‘reserves’
during trying times
Improve the overall performance of a group (when
leaders express more positive emotions)
Five Strategies for Increasing
Positive Emotions
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Prevent bucket dipping.
Shine a light on what is right.
Make best friends.
Give unexpectedly.
Reverse the Golden Rule.
Activity!!
Connection to Class Materials
Leading as a function of management
Transformational leader
Visionary leadership
Organizational culture
Motivation
Conclusion
By asking yourself “What is right with
people?” you can better yourself and those
around you
Use the Five Strategies for increasing
positive emotions
Answer the question: What fills my
bucket?
References
Rath, T. & Clifton, D.O. (2004). How full is
your bucket? New York, NY: Gallup Press.
Schermerhorn, J.R. (2002). Management,
7th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons,
Inc.
Theisen, T. (2003, March 25). Recognizing
all staff members is an important task.
Lincoln Journal Star, p. 4A.
Questions??
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