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The Leadership Forum

One of the first books I read as a people leader was Ken Blanchard's One Minute Manager.

Such a useful book, which if you've not already done so, I would recommend you read. It’s only just over 100 pages long yet so powerful - all 3 leadership lessons you learn are so effective. 

One of key learnings is about praise and to 'catch people doing something right'.

Blanchard says,  "After people are clear on what they are being asked to do, you need to wander around and see if you can catch them doing something right. Accent the positive and praise them. If someone does something wrong, but is a learner, don't punish the person."

What a great leadership lesson!  In my career, I have observed so many leaders who are so quick to give feedback when something is going wrong but forget to look out for the things that their team/individuals are doing right. This is so important especially when someone is learning something new as it builds their confidence which in turn helps to build their competence.

There is a great example of this in the book using an analogy of when a baby is learning to walk. You don’t stand a child up and tell them to walk and when they fall reprimand them - you stand the child up and the first day when they wobble a bit you get all excited and make a fuss of them because they stood and finally the child realising that it’s a pretty good deal, start to wobble their legs more and more until eventually they walk. 

Catching people doing something right has been one of the most valuable pieces of learning/advice I have been given as a leader, and something that I have always done with great success. 

It would be good to hear from community members on this topic.

Do you/your leaders do this already?

What is the most valuable piece of learning/advice you have been given as a leader?

Please join in and share your comments/experiences below.






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  • Sounds like a great book Karen - thanks for sharing, it’s on my reading list! In relation to your point above, I quite agree - when learning there are frequently a combination of steps which need to be learned individually and then put together for the ‘whole’ learning to take place. So this works perfectly here - praise for each small element achieved will give positive feedback and motivation, powerful on the journey to competence. 

    • Absolutely Kathryn. I used to include an exercise in one of the leadership courses I ran where 3 learners is blindfolded and are given the task of trying to throw a ball into a bucket.  There are 3 different scenarios the first learner that has a go, the group are instructed to stay silent and not give any feedback - the learner doesn’t know how they are doing so just carries on, the second learner receives no help just critical feedback about how badly they are doing so either just keeps on missing the bucket or gives up and the third learner is coached and praised throughout. The third learner is always the one with the greatest success as they thrive of the feedback, coaching and praise.

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