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 Bringing out the BEST in people

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PostSubject: Bringing out the BEST in people    Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:35 pm

Bringing Out the Best in People




When conversing with people, we have an opportunity to bring out the best in them. To do so, we must act toward them as if we expect the best.

The Pygmalion Effect

When we act toward people as if we expect outstanding behavior from them, we are applying a principle known as the Pygmalion Effect. Widely validated by social science research, this principle says that as we communicate our expectations of people with various cues, they tend to respond to our cues by adjusting their behavior to match them.

Ancient Greek mythology has a story in which Pygmalion, then a king of Cyprus, carved a statue of a perfect woman. Then, through his belief and desire (along with the help of the goddess of Venus), the statue came alive.

This story was popularized by British playwright George Bernard Shaw and later in the American musical, My Fair Lady, in which Professor Higgins changed an uneducated street girl and flower peddler into a proper lady who spoke and acted like a socialite.

Example of the principle applied

A stunning example of this principle at work shows up in the research of Rosenthal and Jacobson (1971) who randomly labeled two groups of elementary students as `potential achievers` and `non-achievers,` then shared that information with their teachers. As a consequence, the teachers acted toward the `achievers` differently, such as spending more time with them, being more encouraging and supportive with a `you can do it` attitude. From these students the teachers expected `dramatic intellectual growth.`

And they got it. When Rosenthal and Jacobson returned a few months later and re-tested the children, they found that the students labeled as having potential improved their IQ scores significantly, whereas the `non-achievers` had not.

Similar results have been demonstrated in the supervisor-employee relationship. In both civilian and military settings, when supervisors acted toward their subordinates in ways that suggested high expectations of productivity, the higher productivity resulted.

A Related Principle of Dale Carnegie

Long before this research was done, human relations guru Dale Carnegie wrote, `Become genuinely interested in other people.` When we are genuinely interested in others, really curious about them, they feel respected and valued. Implied in our interest is the suggestion that they have a lot to offer. As we show our interest, they tend to become more interesting, more creative, and more capable.

Many of the cues we communicate to others are expressed during conversation but are non-verbal. For example, our facial expressions of interest and our level of enthusiasm as shown by body and voice. Still others are verbal, such as asking questions to draw out a person's ideas and by offering praise and encouragement.

Bi-Focal Vision

Many high achieving people have reported that along the way of their lives, some person has seen potential in them even when it was not obvious to others. That is, a teacher or coach or mentor had a sense of their potential, even if that potential was not readily apparent. For example, a young student from a poor background and education may be seen by a teacher to have a certain giftedness when others have written them off. Thus encouraged and supported, the student begins to excel. (The famous case of deaf and blind Helen Keller working with her teacher Annie Sullivan is such an example.)

Bi-focal vision is a term that denotes our ability to see both the actual behavior and a person's potential within. When we act toward persons as if they are more than theyappear to be on the surface, the potential within tends to emerge.

Conversational Behavior Flows from Our Attitudes

The simplest way to bring out the best in people is to hold an attitude of positive expectations. Instead of looking for what's missing, or what's wrong with a person, we can re-frame our expectations to look for what's positive. The management phrase, `Catch employees doing something right` captures the sense of this attitude.

Try Out The Principle

If you make a conscious choice to expect the best from others, you will tend to get it, from friends, family members, colleagues, and service people. Your behavior toward them, genuinely expressed, will begin to create the self-fulfilling prophecy that people are often more than they seem.



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PostSubject: Re: Bringing out the BEST in people    Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:36 pm

How to Bring Out the Best in People by Janet Callaway | The Natural Networker
janetcallaway

No matter what you do, people are involved.

How to interact, to lead and to motivate is an ongoing challenge. In short, what can you do to bring out the best in people?

Over 25 years ago, Alan Loy McGinnis, wrote a book to teach people how to do exactly that. Though technology has changed much in the way we do business, people are the same. Thus, the principles in his book “Bringing out the Best in People” still apply. Following are 5 of his 12 principles along with my comments and a quote.

Expect the best from people you lead.

Though it may seem obvious, it’s not always the reality. There is a high degree of correlation between what we expect people to do and what they do. From the Pgymalion effect to classroom experiments, examples abound of what happens when we expect the best of people.

Goethe said:

“Treat a man as he appears to be, and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he already were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be.”

Make a thorough study of the other person’s needs.

How do you do this? Ask questions. Don’t assume, find out what matters to each individual. Think of a motivational plan as a designer dress or a custom fitted suit; both are tailored for the individual. Find out where they have been, where they are going, what’s important to them as well as any sore spots.

Or, as Zig Ziglar is famous for saying:

“You can get everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.”

Recognize and applaud achievement.

Acknowledge a person’s effort for a task; be specific in your praise. Rather than say “you’re doing great” say “you’re doing great because you take such consistent action or you help people to understand why they need to ______” Ken Blanchard, “The One Minute Manager” recommends catching people doing “something right” and then giving them an immediate compliment.

English cleric and writer C.C. Colton said:

“Applause is the spur of noble minds.”

Place a premium on collaboration.

Inherent in each of us is a need to belong. Most of us work best when teamed with at least one other person whether it’s on a project or to lose weight. What happens when we work as a group or team is that our resolve strengthens and the support of the group gives the momentum to break through obstacles.

The late U.S. Senator S.I. Hayakawa stated:

“What we call society is really a vast network of mutual agreements.”

Take steps to keep your own motivation high.

What is it about certain people that enable them to lead, to inspire others? History shows it’s not a matter of looks, education or talent. Some call it charisma while others call it obsessiveness or enthusiasm. No doubt about it, “enthusiasm is contagious.” It grabs attention and compels action. To keep yourself up and brimming with energy, with enthusiasm, associate with positive people, monitor your self talk, feed your mind and focus on your goals.

Neurosurgeon and pioneer of brain surgery Dr. Harvey Cushing believed:

“Nothing great or new can be done without enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the fly-wheel which carries your saw through the knots in the log. A certain excessiveness seems a necessary element in all greatness.”

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