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Criticizing Makes It Harder For A Person to Change


Great post from the Havard Business Review, discussing the importance of positive reinforcement and self-assessments and how it affects employee performance. With performance reviews in full swing it might be a good idea to take a look at your companies management practices.

“If everything worked out perfectly in your life, what would you be doing in ten years?”

Such a question opens us up to fresh possibilities, to reflect on what matters most to us, and even what deep values might guide us through life. This approach gives managers a tool for coaching their teams to get better results.

Contrast that mind-opening query with a conversation about what’s wrong with you, and what you need to do to fix yourself.  That line of thinking shuts us down, puts us on the defensive, and narrows our possibilities to rescue operations. Managers should keep this in mind, particularly during performance reviews.

That question about your perfect life in ten years comes from Richard Boyatzis, a professor at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western, and an old friend and colleague.  His recent research on the best approach to coaching has used brain imaging to analyze how coaching affects the brain differently when you focus on dreams instead of failings. These findings have great implications for how to best help someone – or yourself — improve.

As I quoted Boyatzis in my book Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence,  “Talking about your positive goals and dreams activates brain centers that open you up to new possibilities. But if you change the conversation to what you should do to fix yourself, it closes you down.”

Originally posted HERE


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