Feedback and Leadership: Self-fulfilling Prophecies


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Text comes from: Überzeugend leise!: Wie stille Menschen ihre Stärken wirkungsvoll nutzen (2014)Feedback: Nur was erreicht, kann auch bewegen (2015) by Chris Wolf, Heinz Jiranek, published by BusinessVillage Verlag, Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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With Feedback Critics should handle it carefully, because it quickly creates self-fulfilling prophecies. The ancient Greeks already knew that. feedback04


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Chris Wolf Chris-WolfChris Wolf Graduate in psychology and book author.

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Heinz Jiranek Heinz-JiranekHeinz Jiranek, psychologist and coach.

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What is leadership?

"Of course, as a manager, I also have to give feedback." "Sure!" One would like to assure. But especially in the management context, where power, pressure, intentions to influence, control and human image play an enormous role, great sensitivity and some consideration are required so that the desired resonance can arise.

“It's not about being the boss. It's about being a leader. ”

Said Mark Rashid, American horse expert and trainer. Because what exactly is leadership? The quote from the well-known Horseman and unusual leadership expert Mark Rashid suggests that things are not as easy as one might think. Someone who is a leader contributes a lot more than someone who is just the boss. So what is leadership's contribution?

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Leadership definition Compact

Under Leadership, we mean enabling and promoting performance through others based on a culture that promotes and employs humanist ethics. Management must decide and / or make decisions.

Leadership can be seen very differently! The view in the lower part of the picture Leadership - with which image of man? has the better effects in the long term. Effective resonance feedback follows this inner attitude.

Feedback moves people

“If you want to pass on something, first filter through three sieves: the first only lets the true through, the second only lets through the good, and the third only lets through the bare essentials. You can pass on what went through all three sieves. ”

This was once said by Socrates (Greek philosopher, * 499 BC † 399 BC). Spider-Man, aka Peter Parker, on the other hand, goes his way as a hero (in the movie from 2002 by director S. Raimi) because he believes that his uncle Ben and his aunt May love him. At the beginning of the story he is an inconspicuous guy, glasses and quite clumsy. Only big ideas and the unfortunate infatuation with the neighboring daughter supposedly differentiate him from other boys ... and the unshakable conviction of his uncle and his aunt, who the young future hero is aware of and who expresses himself in feedback! His uncle sometimes reminds him: “With great power comes great responsibility”. How fitting.

The self-fulfilling prophecy

Of course, this is a naive comic story and, of course, almost all parents or relatives think so of their children. And yet here is hidden a grain of truth, as in all typical storyplots. Surely, you remember yourself, with accurate circling of your memory contents, feedbacks with positive or negative content that have moved you for years.

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Everyone knows the phenomenon of self-fulfilling prophecy: someone gives you information about a person you do not know yet. This information is fictitious (for example in the context of a scientific experiment), which of course you do not know. The person will most likely begin to behave as if your information were true. For example, if you provide teachers with randomly assigned information about the performance of students from a new class, then the performance of the children will change accordingly, as a classic study shows.

The feedback makes the setting

Only the attitudes that the teachers have of the children move here. How much more powerful is the connection when these assessments are expressed, for example in the context of feedback! Of the Sense We are also good at the responsibility Ben Parker tries to convey to his nephew Spider-Man.

As part of training or seminars, we regularly experience that participants suddenly entrust us with feedback that someone has given them at some point and that has troubled them since then, often for years. "My boss said I wasn't emotional enough!" (What is emotionally enough please ???), “I failed the assessment center because I'm not capable of conflict!”, “The personnel manager says I can't lead!” - these are just harmless everyday examples that professionals try to digest or understand for years in the design of their work environment or career.

Positive feedback also helps

This is also true of positive feedback: I recently received a phone call from a manager who told me that one of the people I worked with was very thoughtful because she was confused about my positive assessment of her communicative skills.

Half of the company has been unsuccessful for years trying to make this very point of view clear - my feedback was obviously (and coincidentally) the result. And what about the employee who is simply completely overwhelmed and unhappy in his current role and who is persuaded by a coach that this is not true? Does the company see him completely wrong?

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