Catch someone doing something right!

This quote is attributed to Ken Blanchard, a well known business writer, author of The One Minute Manager.

The natural tendency is to "catch someone doing something wrong." However, research in psychology has shown that negative feedback is far less effective in influencing behavior than positive feedback.

Mr. Blanchard advises managers that "Catching people doing things right provides satisfaction and motivates good performance. But remember, give praise immediately, make it specific, and finally encourage people to keep up the good work."

He indicates, "For a manager to be perceived as a positive manager, they need to have a four to one positive to negative contact ratio."

This principle applies not only to organizations, but to families as well. Parents sometimes believe it is their duty to scold their children for their mistakes, with the hope of teaching them. That approach has two major flaws. Firstly a child cannot easily learn what to do if they are only told what not to do! Secondly the child will generally not be motivated to change. Following the example the parents have set, the child is likely to react with criticisms of their parents, siblings, and others. The home may become filled with resentment instead of love, and retribution instead of cooperation.

Parents generally want the best future possible for their children, but they should consider that children tend to copy the parent's behavior more than their advice. So when they eventually join the workforce and perhaps have a leadership opportunity, they would tend to become the "negative leader" that Ken Blanchard cautions managers about. It may take some time before they realize this mistake and learn what they could otherwise have learned in their youth

People get so used to expecting things to be done "right" that they forget to notice the effort it takes to make it so. The thought for this month is a reminder to restore a good habit: Please watch for and praise the things that your family, friends, and colleagues do well, and you will have a happer and more successful life!


For more quotes from Ken Blanchard, click here


Return to Universal Ethics home page

Copyright Arthur de Leyssac, 2018, All Rights Reserved.