Why Leaders Don’t Think Straight

Ruminating on what’s wrong exaggerates the importance of wrong. “Nothing is as important as you think it is, while you’re thinking about it.” Daniel Kahneman

Unmanaged thinking distorts reality.

In a world filled with good and bad, you notice bad and neglect good.

teaspoon of honey

A teaspoon of dirt is more powerful than a teaspoon of honey.

Straight thinking:

Deal with splinters:

Pull splinters before infection sets in.

Painful situations require intervention. Meaningful problems get worse with time.

Ruminate on solution-finding, not problems.

Disproportionate advantage:

Removing ‘bad’ provides disproportionate advantage.

Bad pollutes good. A teaspoon of dirt has more power than a teaspoon of honey.

Jerks are jerks even when they give a few compliments.

Jerks experience disproportionate advantage when they stop being jerk-holes first, and add compliment-giving to their social repertoire.  

Exponential power:

A little good is nice but inconsequential.

A little bad goes a long way. An occasional correction has more impact than several compliments.

Tip: Frequent compliments and affirmations give power to occasional correction.

Triggers for good:

It’s work to recall good but remembering bad happens all by itself.

My gratitude notepad sits on the corner of my desk. It’s a trigger for good.

Remind yourself to notice good or bad captures your attention. (This is doubly true of self-talk.)

What triggers for good might work for you?

How might leaders leverage the power of good and bad?

Bonus material:

Would You Be Happier If You Were Richer? A Focusing Illusion

Negative Bias: Why We’re Hardwired for Negativity (verywellmind.com)

choicesvalues.pdf (missouri.edu)