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Encouragement culture rather than an address culture
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Encouragement culture rather than an address culture

If people don’t point out good or desirable behavior to each other, things can go from bad to worse. Often you hear the call to strive for a culture of addressing issues. But do we really want that? Personally, I don’t think so.

Criticism

Justice officials who fail to report mistakes or nurses who allow unhygienic practices by doctors to continue. There are numerous examples that show that underperformance or integrity issues stem from negligence and cowardice.

If people don’t point out good or desirable behavior to each other, things can go from bad to worse. Often, you hear the call to strive for a culture of open communication and accountability.

But should we really want to? I actually don’t think so. It is good to address each other from time to time, but it very much depends on how. Addressing behavior quickly tends to point out mistakes and that doesn’t make anyone happy. It makes no sense to work on an address culture where people are constantly criticizing each other. Criticism quickly feels to the recipient like an attack. It is seen as criticism or dismissal. And he who hits the ball can expect it. The critic himself becomes the target of criticism.

On the sports field

Instead of striving for a blame culture, strive for a culture of encouragement. That is an environment in which people point out to each other the desired behavior needed to perform. That art can be learned, for example, while coaching sports teams. Effective “feedback” on the sports field includes positive cues. In this regard: not works not. Statements like “don’t let your opponent run” or “don’t run offside all the time” are useless. What does work are positive directions, such as: ‘there is room on the right’, ‘stay close to your man’ or ‘try a distance shot’.

The criticism is not directed at the man: ‘you’re cutting corners’, but at the ball: ‘if we want to win, everyone will have to tap into his talents.

Peter Geelen – iPM Partners

Value-free feedback

In a culture of encouragement, employees point out opportunities to each other to improve: ‘If you come up more on the right, you can cross more easily’. Or ask each other a question: ‘What should we do to perform even better in the second half?’ That may sound a little soft to your ears. But the bottom line is that you value the other person; you give value-free feedback. The criticism is not aimed at the man: ‘you are cutting corners’, but at the ball: ‘if we want to win, everyone will have to use their talents’. People are made aware of their contribution to the whole.

Performance dialogue

A culture of encouragement is a long-term issue. Whoever wants to achieve that employees point out desirable behavior to each other in a positive way must take a structural approach. This can be done, for example, by establishing a “performance dialogue” that takes place frequently. During these dialogues, colleagues talk about how they can perform better together, as much as possible without judging. In this way, they find out what is going well, what everyone’s role and talents are, and they can encourage each other to perform even better.

Want to know how to create a culture of encouragement in your organization? I would be happy to tell you.

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