We live in a negative world, as Captain Obvious has observed. We notice what went wrong, not what went right.
Someone has suggested that the national news should be called, “Things That Went Wrong Throughout the Country,” while local news should be renamed “Things That Went Wrong Close to Home.”
As has been observed, you never hear a story that begins with “810 flights took off today across the country, and all of them landed safely.”
It’s no wonder that managers find it easier to notice when things go awry – “Your report is late,” or “We missed projections by 4%,” or “You’re dragging your feet on this project.” They’ve been programmed to do this all their life.
Years ago, Ken Blanchard made the phrase, “Catch ‘em doing something right,” the cornerstone of his gazillion-seller book, The One Minute Manager. He was on to something.
What gets rewarded gets repeated, as they say. Being “caught” by the boss doing something right is a pretty cool (and all-too-rare) experience.
But it’s not easy – leaders, like everyone else, usually react to what’s gone wrong and take for granted what’s going well. It’s second nature.
What do you suppose would happen if you consciously took more time to notice when something goes well and said something about it – out loud?
Do you think that might boost morale? Improve productivity? Re-engage someone who’s a bit burned out?
Maybe do an experiment: once a day for a week, make a point to catch someone doing something right and let them know how you feel about it. See what happens.
Do it for three weeks, and it may become a habit. What kind of difference might that make?