If your job is to land jets on an aircraft carrier, it’s assumed that you are good at it. That’s why you get a paycheck.
Say one day you have bad landing. Your commanding officer witnesses this and gives you an ass chewing.
Your next landing is noticeably better, and your CO sees the difference. He assumes that the ass chewing got you to raise your game, and now ass chewing is deeper in his leadership DNA.
Conversely, one day you have a particularly good landing – a textbook landing, and your CO sees it. He’s delighted, so he praises your competence.
Your next landing isn’t as good, so he assumes his praise caused you to ease up on your attention to detail. From this, he chooses to avoid praises in leadership for its obvious detriment to the cause of landing jets safely on deck.
Here’s the thing; you’re there landing jets on small spaces because you’ve been proven competent at doing so. On average, you always get the job done within the scope of expectations.
Truth: An exceptional landing will almost always be followed by a lesser one.
Truth: A poor landing will almost always be followed by a better one.
It’s the law of median effect.
Yet much of our institutionalized instruction is rooted in the discipline of ass chewings; academia, sports, military, and so-on. Praise though, is used all too sparingly in these environments.
Turns out that in the big picture, praise may not raise one’s game all that much. Still, praise contributes to a positive environment.
It also turns out that ass chewings don’t do too much to raise one’s game – and always make for a demoralized environment.
One more truth: Success in anything is rooted exclusively in intelligent training, and consistent practice over long periods of time — fitness concerns included… Jhciacb
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