A Human Approach

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Those Temper Tantrums No Longer Get a Rise

Aha! Moment Monday

How do they get away with that??

Why does everyone leave their dishes in the company kitchen and I get stuck doing them before I go home?

Why did I work for eight hours on a proposal to find out the parameters changed and nobody told me?

Why am I always on time for meetings yet everyone else rolls in when it’s convenient, and we don’t start until everyone is there?

Is it them?  Or is it you?

Aha!  ~  You’re always teaching people how to treat you.

(I know – this one is a real “Ouch!”)

For starters, understand that we learn differently at different stages. Children around eight years of age respond to positive reinforcement vs. negative.  The fact that negative feedback is more complicated, learning from mistakes is more complex, so leading by example and rewarding for “good” behaviour work best.  So does giving minimal energy to bad behaviour (like temper tantrums).  But in twelve-year-olds and adults as well, the opposite is the case.   Their control centres’ in the brain are more strongly activated by negative feedback … but there’s more to it.  In an article in Science News with research provided by Leiden University, their research with fMRI scans show that as we mature, learning is less about “good” or “bad” and more about asking “…what precisely went wrong and how is it possible?”  We simply learn differently….but only when we are aware of the consequences.

We learn at an early age about gravity – dropping food from the high chair comes with great delight – but learning behaviour happens differently.

If there are no apparent consequences to determined “bad behaviour” – you respond politely even when people are rude, you waste your time not knowing if you have correct information, you pick up the slack for others, – then nothing will change … but resentment will build and everyone is choking on that cloud of thick air.

Now, what might seem counter-productive, offensive or draining to you might be unconsciously working really well for someone else! They are consciously – or quite possibly unconsciously – behaving in a way that suits because it appears to be acceptable (e.g. if the meeting doesn’t start until the last person arrives, then it must be okay to be late.)

But in the end, it’s not about them it’s about you….so, know that you always have a choice to accept behaviour or ask, “What can I do differently to encourage a different result that works for us all?”  Sometimes just shedding light on a situation – “When you do (blank) it makes me feel (blank)” – is enough to create change that everyone can agree on.

Ahhhh….don’t you just love fresh air??

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