Why do negative comments stick with us and not the positive ones?MentorKraft
A critique from a boss, a disagreement with a colleague, a conflict with a friend – the wound from any of these can make you forget a month’s worth of prais. If you’ve been called lazy, careless, or a disappointment, you’re likely to remember and internalize it. It’s somehow easier to forget, or discount, all the times people have said you’re talented or conscientious or that you make them proud.
A critique from a boss, a disagreement with a
colleague, a conflict with a friend – the wound
from any of these can make you forget a
month’s worth of prais.
Chemistry plays a big role in this experience. When we face criticism, rejection or fear, when we feel downgraded or minimized, our bodies produce higher levels of cortisol, a hormone that shuts down the thinking center of our brains and activates conflict aversion and protection behaviors. We become more reactive and sensitive. We often perceive even greater judgment and negativity than actually exists. And these effects can last for 26 hours or more, imprinting the interaction on our memories and magnifying the impact it has on our future behavior. Cortisol functions like a sustained-release tablet – the more we ruminate about our fear, the longer the impact.
When we face criticism, rejection or fear,
when we feel downgraded or minimized, our
bodies produce higher levels of cortisol, a
hormone that shuts down the thinking
Positive comments and conversations produce a chemical reaction too. They spur the production of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that elevates our ability to communicate, collaborate and trust others by activating networks in our prefrontal cortex. But oxytocin metabolizes more quickly than cortisol, so its effects are less dramatic and long lasting. This “chemistry of conversations” is why it’s so critical for all of us especially managers – to be more mindful about our interactions. Behaviors that increase cortisol levels reduce what I call “Conversational Brainpower a person’s ability to connect and think innovatively, empathetically, creatively and strategically with others. Behaviors that spark oxytocin raising the power to get better sustainable results and have happy team.
To retain talent, produce sustainable results,
create innovation at each department and its
people, who demonstrate growth in letter and spirit.
we need a bit of handholding in these troubled times.
We need to prepare, train and execute excellence in communication, building trust and compassion in organisation. Only then can we see an ecology of growth and happiness.
Do you agree or disagree?
Seshadri is a leadership and business coach