Anyone in a management or mentor role has probably heard the concept of sandwiching criticism between positivity.
So instead of saying,
Man, you really need to show up on time…
You should instead say,
Hi Mike, we really appreciate the work you do here. We have noticed you coming in late a lot though, and we need that to stop happening. But yeah, everyone just really respects what you do.
It’s a powerful tool for behavior change, and this research seems to have isolated why.
In brief, thinking about one’s potential and possibilities makes people receptive to ideas and change, while negativity about oneself makes them defensive and closed. We knew this intuitively, but now we can see this at the level of the brain.
So when you’re criticizing someone, be sure to keep the mind open with appreciation, praise, or some other form of positivity. Failing to do so may mean you’ll be speaking to a closed door.