How to help someone who bad talks themselves

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Hearing someone describe themselves with a critical label is never easy, especially if you manage them.

If you want to contribute to their growth, convert a negative self-fulfilling prophecy into an opportunity. Stretch the potential of your direct report by adding a phrase that locates the label in the past.

For example, if someone describes themselves as indecisive, you can re-label that for them by saying ‘so you’ve been indecisive in the past’. This moves the conversation to one of state rather than one of trait.

The beauty of this is that the state conversation gives more scope to solutions.

You can further this growth activation by asking ‘so when are you decisive?’ This stretches the description of themselves away from black and white. It shows them the truth, which is of course that we are all grey.

Growth is determined by the bandwidth in which we play. Labels assigned to people you manage, even the ones they give themselves, will limit your potential to help them grow.
Further (wonderful) related reading : Carol Dweck - Mindset

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