Remember the old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? That saying never struck me as being true. I’ve observed that most people are bothered by critical or negative remarks. It just seems to be human nature.
A recent Harvard Business Review blog post, entitled “A Little Criticism Goes a Long Way,” described a study on business team performance. The study showed that:
- Top performing teams received 5.6 positive comments for each negative comment.
- Medium performing teams received 1.9 positive comments for each negative comment.
- Low performing teams received 0.36 positive comments for each negative comment.
Thus, top performing teams received 15.5 more positive comments than low performing teams. When it comes to motivating people, it appears that the carrot is by far the superior tool.