When I managed for PETsMART, we were lucky to recruit some amazing dog trainers. One of the things I learned from them and used successfully with my dog, is never call your dog to you to scold them. They will associate coming to you with the expectation of being scolded. Over time, the dog won’t come to you any more when you call them.
Whenever you need to scold the dog, you go to the dog.
When you call the dog to you, there should always be a treat involved. Sometimes just a pet and hug, sometimes food. They really like the food part! This way, whenever you call the dog, they will come running.
Now, think about this. Why would people be any different? If every time you called your child to come to you and they were treated in a negative manner, why would they want to subject themselves to that? Parents who do this wonder why in later years, the kids never come to visit. Why would I go somewhere that I have to “face the music” every time I show up?
Apply that same concept to couples. How would you feel if every time you got into a discussion with your significant other, it turned into being chastised for whatever was on their mind at the time? Now your spouse will never share their excitement and joy with you because they will expect it to end up in a battle over something.
Employees are no different. If every time you are called to the manager’s office, it’s to be reprimanded, why would you ever want to willingly go there? Now the manager has made it so that they will never hear a great idea that may well save their business.
I’m not saying you should never have difficult conversations. I certainly believe you should but the up front expectation should be clear and separate from any other communication. You might even consider scheduling regular times for those conversations so that when you get a call, you can be comfortable that it can only be good!
Make it a great day!
P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for food on my plate. I’m thankful for time with my wife. I’m thankful for God in my life.
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