Grow Your People by Focusing on What’s Going Right

My tendency to see what's wrong with the world, rather than what's right, makes me a terrible manager.

I get so focused on the stuff they screw up that I rarely notice the stuff going right.

Typical day: 35 things go right; one thing goes wrong. I can't stop thinking about the one thing. I'm sort of a nightmare to have as a boss.

The impact of my attention on that one thing is all negative: no good comes from my focus on that thing. I can quickly take someone doing most everything right and make him or her a very unhappy camper. I get so focused on the bad stuff that I barely notice the good.

Unfortunately, that is a fairly natural tendency for many of us. We think we're doing the right thing. We completely justify our focus. We explain that the mistakes are what get us in trouble. The mistakes are the things that get us sued for malpractice. That all makes sense to me. It just has the impact of demoralizing everyone in our employ.

You get more of what you focus on. Focus on mistakes, and you get more mistakes. Focus on what's going right, and you get more of what goes right. I'm not sure why things work out that way, but they do. It's the way of the world.

I find myself in constant need or reminding if I'm to stay focused on the positive. I have to tie a string around my finger, put sticky notes on my monitor, and ask people to pester me to stay focused on the successes of my team. It's really hard for me.

If you're struggling with this, like I am, it's essential that we make a change.

It's absolutely essential that we pay attention to what's going well. We've got to acknowledge it, compliment it, and promote it to others. We've got to notice the good stuff and be the cheerleaders for the stuff that's working.

I challenge you today to find the things going well: they're all around you. Pay attention to them today, and let the other things drift to the back burner. Talk about what's being done right, tell your people how pleased you are with their success, and brag to others as well. Spend the day focused on the positive, and you'll find yourself surrounded by more positives. Keep reminding yourself to stay focused on what's going right.

While you're at it, do me a favor and remind me as well. I need your help to stay focused on what's going right. I'd like to be more positive. I'm sure my folks would appreciate your help in keeping me on track.

Some of you have good ideas for staying focused on the positive. Please share your ideas in the comments below. I can use all the help I can get.


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