It depends… People respond differently to put-downs. Muhammad Ali once wrote about the high school teacher who told him he wouldn’t amount to anything. On his return home from winning the Olympic gold medal, he stormed into her classroom with the medal, and told her, “I’m the best in the world!” Then he walked out for the last time.
Fast forward to the recent U.S. Open awards ceremony, where new champion Coco Gauff thanked those who didn’t believe in her because their negative comments motivated her to work harder and achieve more.
CONSTRUCTIVE VS. DESTRUCTIVE COMMENTS
We hear about the success stories, but I wonder about those people we don’t hear about because they get demoralized and stop trying. Certainly, in my coaching practice, I have worked with managers to help them improve performance after negative reviews. It requires introspection and some emotional distance to separate what is constructive from what is destructive. The same is true for coaching high-level executives on how to bring out the best in their direct reports. There is no “one size fits all.” We need to consider that some people do better when they want to prove you wrong, and others need to know you believe in them.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO ACHIEVE MORE: POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE COMMENTS?