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Just so you know.                                                                                                                                  

I don’t take criticism well.

In fact being criticised has been known to generate a bit of a reaction, so for your own safety, you might choose to wear protective clothing and a flak jacket.

Though I’ve gotten better at it than before. There was a time when being criticised fairly or otherwise, would lead to days of rumination, self loathing and hiding under the nearest, darkest rock, where I would lick my wounds and plan revenge!

Yet today, I can welcome criticism when it is being delivered from a place of compassion, because that is what helps us to grow and become better at what we are striving to improve in.

(Just don’t push it… too far.)

Being social creatures, we like to be liked and we like to be part of our “in-groups.” Anything that threatens that is a huge threat to the brain and essentially puts us into the flight or fight response.

So it should be no surprise that a little bit of praise can go an awful long way to overcome that threat. Receiving a compliment, or a snippet of encouragement, rewards our brain. We feel safe; we are more relaxed and more capable of using our pre-frontal cortex for what it’s really good at – our higher executive thinking.

Yet too often these social niceties get forgotten or overlooked, especially in the workplace.

It saddens me when I hear staff mention they are thinking of changing jobs, because they never receive any positive feedback from their boss or manager.

Imagine working in a position, where you are doing your best, trying hard and all you ever get back is a litany of what you’ve done wrong.


Just a touch.

Now this is not an excuse to overlook poor effort or workmanship. If our work isn’t up to scratch, we need to know. However it seems that in our over busy, over committed, over challenged lives, we forget, that to bring the best out of people, we need to nurture and fertilise their strengths rather than just focus on their weaknesses.

In an era of massive disengagement in the workplace, promoting positivity is a must.

We can boost creative thinking, cognitive flexibility and the ability to think fast by being in a relaxed or happy mood. Conversely being in a bad mood keeps us from being focused, able to think things through, or to see alternative solutions.

If your workplace has a prevailing low mood, it’s time to look at reintroducing some positivity. Emotion is contagious, so starting out with a smile is a great beginning.

Acknowledging our co-workers with a “hello” and using their (correct) name helps to retain our sense of self-identity and worth.

Social pain is real and just as intense and painful as physical pain. Great leaders understand how to incorporate a results focus with social skills, though research suggests less than 1% of leaders and managers actually achieve this!

If business success and growth is a priority, incorporating social skills is a must. 

Our brain’s plasticity means these skills can be learned, which is why choosing to develop a high performance brain can make all the difference. Now that sounds more encouraging doesn’t it 🙂

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

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