It is easy to notice what colleagues and others in our life do “wrong”. We naturally have a view of how things “should” be done based on our experiences and conditioning. After all, we have been successful doing things our way. It is natural to become judgmental toward others and ourselves when we believe something is not correct. Our instinct may be to criticize, judge and turn away. This reaction does not generally serve us.
Think about it. When someone criticizes or judges you, how do you respond? Most likely, you become defensive-whether you share your reaction directly or not. Your energy is spent on justifying your behavior and often making the other wrong. A negative cycle has begun–and can last for a long time as we repeat the story we are telling ourselves and our emotions strengthen.
Of course, we need to notice our reaction in these moments, Stop, Step back and cool down, then Shift to being open and curious. We can look for what we can learn as well as the opportunities in a situation. Perhaps we will collectively identify a more efficient process or even strengthen our relationship after an honest conversation.
It is useful to focus on giving positive recognition to people in our life when things are going as we hope. When we thank a person for going the extra mile or for working collaboratively with colleagues they learn what is important to us. Positive reinforcement strengthens behavior.
Make it a practice to appreciate and recognize positive behaviors that will support your team, family and community. We can all use some positive acknowledgment these days.