Do you see your team members doing good things or do you notice the behaviours and work that doesn’t meet the standard required … ?

This looks like a simple question and one might be prompted to say – I see both, but do we … ?

Leadership and Management training for many years, have been indoctrinated to identify the gaps and focus on closing the gap in team members skill and capabilities. This industrialised and mechanical mindset, mirrors the way we interact and manage the people. Focusing on systemising every thing and striving for high quality and replicable results – like machines.

When we then apply the same thinking to the human part of the equation – the results may impede our abilities to create highly effective teams and are it likely hinders our thought processes. This has inadvertently programmed our brains to notice the imperfections and gaps. We hone in on those natural imperfections.

But isn’t this how all our brains work?

There is a great deal of research now being done into the concept of optimism and pessimism. Our natural biases to what we pay attention to, seem to be able to be measured through rigorous and scientific methods. Much of Martin Seligmans work among others have made the mainstream leadership literature, not just confined to the psychology sections in the library.

By building our brains ability to see the positive and things that are working well, we can help build our teams performance – utilising the strengths and successful elements of behaviour that they display. This said, its not about ignoring the things that require improvement or outright inappropriate behaviours. Its about making sure that our brains are able to notice and recognise both the good and the ‘needs improvement’ behaviours.

The Jan/Feb 2013 edition of the Scientific American Mind magazine explores this premise and reports on some early findings into the following:

Subliminal negative biases in attention, interpretation and memory are linked with a heightened vulnerability to stress and anxiety

Our reactions to change are often a subconscious response to what we define as threat … Immunity to Change helps explore our subconscious assumptions that drive behaviours and raise them to a level of awareness that allows us to make decisions as to whether they are working for us or against us.

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