Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone was always pleasant and positive? We at Third Coast Events, Inc., assumed this was unrealistic – until we discovered the results of a 2009 study conducted at the University of California, Berkeley. The researchers split the 100 participants into four groups, and filmed them as they worked together to solve challenging math problems. When the groups finished their work, the researchers showed the video to a separate group of individuals. They were asked to identify who in each of the groups fulfilled the role of leader. Of course, there were no assigned leaders in any of the groups. The members of the panel, however, fully agreed on who they perceived to be in charge: it was always the person who spoke first. There’s another interesting twist to these findings. An impressive 94% of the answers to the math problems were offered by the individual who spoke first. This indicates that, in addition to those on the panel, the actual group members presumed the leadership of the person who spoke first. There you have it. The one who initiates has the most influence. Now, you can combine this information with some positivity to create a cheerier workplace. Michelle Gielan, a positive psychology researcher, calls this the power lead. Whenever you are about to interact with a colleague, aim to be the one who initiates the conversation. Launch with a positive subject before your peer has a chance to complain or otherwise spew negativity. After you’ve started things on a positive note, our team at Third Coast Events, Inc., suggests that you watch carefully. You will clearly see your impact.