“Catch others…”

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS November 4, 2013 #461 Up next…”Catch others….”

After further review…A recurring theme (and a very strong suggestion) in my presentations to corporate, business and education groups is this:  ”Catch people doing something right!”    When one makes a mistake or is not working to one’s potential, others of us tend to be caustic in our immediate judgment of their performance or behavior. Does that promote growth? The suggestion here is to reward others when they are doing the right thing. The idea is to eliminate errors and build confidence. Incidentally, it’s of no value to say “build-up”. Where people are concerned, that’s the only direction there is. Lifted up, raised to a new state of being.

The impetus of this message came as I witnessed players and coaches (at all levels) berating teammates in an attempt to improve performance, which all too often made recipients defensive. A better approach is the positive application of criticism. The word “criticism” is often defined as “finding fault” with such synonyms as “rap”, swipe”, “flak”, “knock”, all pejorative.

In building his T*E*A*M one coach has said “It’s about holding people accountable, and with that comes a little pushing, and prodding—and a lot of patting them on the back”. Sounds like catching people doing something right fits well that with coach’s philosophy. Outside of athletics and the constant need for motivation, these ideas apply to all facets of life, including the raising of your children. Discussing this with one of our daughters recently, she told me her daughter (age 12) needed some “pushing and prodding” to get her homework completed and turned in on time. Hmm, you too?

My experience as an inner-city high school principal prompted me to encourage teachers to take the coach’s approach in their classrooms. The thought then –as now –was that their 30-plus students were not all the same and need different kinds of motivation to improve performance. I suggested that some students may be quarterbacks, some running backs, some linemen, i.e., playing different roles. Thus the pushing and prodding and pats on the back       will vary from student to student. It has often been a mantra of mine that “there is nothing so unequal as the equal treatment of unequals”.

A teacher/parent/coach needs to be stern, but fair in the disciplining of others. A quiet, yet firm voice praising the right thing will build respect. Screaming, yelling, and berating…not so much.

Will you look for ways to catch others doing something right?

To contact Jim go to www.jimtunney.com or email him at jim@jimtunney.com.

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