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Moving Away From the “Gotcha” Mentality

Your boss calls you into his/her office and what is the first thing you think about? Most people would automatically think that they were in trouble. That’s because most managers focus on what you do wrong and neglect what you do right. This is called the “Gotcha” mentality because when your manager only focuses on the negative it feels like they are watching every move to catch you doing something wrong.

To be a strong and effective leader it is so important to focus on what your followers are doing right. This doesn’t mean to ignore the things they are doing wrong but if you address their performance for the things they are doing right and wrong you will have a stronger bond with your followers. Also if you leverage both types of reinforcement you will have a better balance in managing your people.

So how can you do this? The most effective way is when you see something you like from your employee, address it right away. This does not have to be a formal meeting in your office but it can be a simple compliment on the spot. Three steps should be included in the compliment: 1) State what you saw 2) Explain why you liked it and how it contributes to the overall goal 3) Thank them for the job well done. It’s important that they know how their work impacts the productivity of the job and how it relates to the end goal.

A book that I recommend that illustrates this concept effectively is “Whale Done” by Ken Blanchard. Ken uses a fictional story to illustrate how focusing more on the positive than the negative will enhance your relationships with people not only in the professional setting but in a personal setting as well. This book is a short read but it really gets you thinking about the power of positive reinforcement.

Remember relationship building does not happen overnight.  If you continue to work at it and contribute a lot of time to your people you will see positive results.

Any thoughts or comments? Leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!

Ken Blanchard’s Whale Done! The Power of Positive Relationships Training for Trainers


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