Saturday, December 28, 2013

Finding the sweet spot between criticism and encouragement

Some interesting new research on how to more effectively coach someone towards success as reported by the Harvard Business Review Blog.

When You Criticize Someone, You Make It Harder for that Person to Change

. . . .

 

[Professor Richard Boyatzis, of the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western, has done] 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.

 

. . . . “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.”

 

Working with colleagues at Cleveland Clinic, Boyatzis put people through a positive, dreams-first interview or a negative, problems-focused one while their brains were scanned. The positive interview elicited activity in reward circuitry and areas for good memories and upbeat feelings – a brain signature of the open hopefulness we feel when embracing an inspiring vision. In contrast, the negative interview activated brain circuitry for anxiety, the same areas that activate when we feel sad and worried. In the latter state, the anxiety and defensiveness elicited make it more difficult to focus on the possibilities for improvement.

 

Of course a manager needs to help people face what’s not working. As Boyatzis put it, “You need the negative focus to survive, but a positive one to thrive. You need both, but in the right ratio.”

Continue reading here.

(jbl).

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2013/12/finding-the-sweet-spot-between-criticism-and-encouragement-.html

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