A Harvard Business team found that from a database of 50,000 leaders, both positive comments and constructive criticisms were important in promoting team success.
While criticism was most effective in correcting serious mistakes, praise worked better overall.
Positive comment examples included: “I agree with that,” and “That’s a terrific idea”.
Negative comments included: “That’s a dumb idea,” and “Why would anyone even consider doing that?”.
The praise-to-criticism ratio was 5.6:1 for top-performing teams, and 0.36:1 for low-performing ones.
Incidentally, this finding is echoed by a study on wedded couples’ likelihood of remaining married, with the optimal ratio being amazingly similar at 5.0 (vs. 0.77 to 1.00 for the divorcees).
In medicine, our high standards of accuracy and low tolerance of mistakes make us harsh, even difficult bosses.
You may find it hard to utter wholehearted compliments unless someone does an outstanding job.
However, all of us can practice being a “good-finder”—always finding something genuinely good about someone to compliment them on.
At the very least, we can always appreciate someone for their contribution to the team, no matter how small their role may be.
Try it out for yourself this week and jot down 3 genuine compliments you can provide to each of your team members.