There is a simple way to increase your happiness and fulfillment and improve a person’s skills at the same time. I want to share one simple technique that will encourage you and help improve another person’s performance. This will work at work, on a sports team, and with your own kids. It has been proven scientifically by researchers who focus on brain development.
Here it is: Catch someone doing something right and name it. We do this with babies as they learn to make a sound, say a word, or throw a ball. We practically throw a party when our own child learns to do a basic skill. However, as our kids get older and as we try to help others learn new skills, we shift our strategy and turn into professional critiques. We think that if we can identify what others do wrong, they will change. When we critique someone or receive negative feedback, we put up an invisible shield and hinder the learning process. However, when we are praised for an action, we relax and try to duplicate that action. We feel we have achieved and succeeded, and we eagerly want to experience that pleasure again.
If you lead or manage people, try these simple techniques.
1. Cause and Effect: Instead of saying, “Here are a couple of things I would change,” Say “When you did this specific thing, it was extremely effective.” Try naming what was right and connect it to positive results. This will both cause a people to feel they succeeded and help them see the results of their action.
2. Compliments instead of Correction: Start measuring your feedback in terms of positive reinforcements instead of corrective comments.
3. Strengths over Weaknesses: When doing performance evaluations, focus on a person’s strength and help them grow those rather than naming weaknesses and asking them to focus on those.
4. Public over Private: Start publicly recognizing good behaviors and name the impact of the good behaviors.
5. Set a numeric goal everyday: Set a goal to catch a certain number of people doing something right every day. You will quickly become the manager of the year. Do this with your kids, and they will first be in shock and then they will start increasing the good actions.
6. Flip it: Learn to say the opposite of the negative comment. Instead of saying a person dropped the ball for not immediately following-up with something, catch them when they follow-up immediately, thank them, and tell them the impact that it has made. Encourage them to repeat that practice.
Catching people doing something right can become a habit, and when it does, you will be happier and more fulfilled. People will seek you out for your feedback and coaching. It will change the tone and the culture of your team. Finally, thank you for reading my blog. I hope every entry helps you lead yourself and others more effectively.