Several years ago I came across a high-functioning team of over 40 people in a contact centre. Their work was stressful as they handled hundreds of difficult conversations each day.
I was intrigued to find out what the ‘glue’ was that bound this group together. It soon became obvious that it was the manager who had a considerable positive impact on that team.One of his favourite activities was ‘good-finding’. He would walk around the office and look for things he could praise and acknowledge in what people were doing.
He was specific in the things he said and avoided generalised statements like “You are doing great” or “Well done” with no specific context. Rather, he would say “I notice you have completed your filing – good on you” “You are up-to-date with your callbacks – well done for that”.
When he acknowledged someone’s efforts in this way they knew what they had done well and were more inclined to keep doing it. While his feedback encouraged the individuals concerned it also had a flow-on effect with others who worked there. They knew that good work was noticed and appreciated. They did not feel like they were going to be criticised constantly and they welcomed the presence of their manager in their workspace.
Neuroscientists tell us that negative or critical statements activate the amygdala, sometimes referred to as the fight/flight centre of the brain. When there is too much criticism people don’t feel safe. They become defensive and are constantly on alert to avoid being hurt from further disapproval.
To maintain a balance in workplace relationships it is recommended that you make at least three positive comments to one negative comment. In your personal relationships at home, this ratio jumps to seven positives to one negative.
Start good-finding today.