Are Power Games Killing Your Relationships?

Business Growth Inspiration

This week my normal pattern of train commute has changed – I’ve been lucky enough to have early starts at my desk and take late morning trains – lovely! 

With later trains I’ve been joined by holiday travellers. Sat amongst this mix, what has shocked me is the dominance and power that one side of a couple can exude, and I’ve seen again and again, an underlying steaming anger.  What’s going on?
What is it about relationships that means we want to have power within them, and what stops us standing up for ourselves when others try to have power over us?

We see this in leadership personas all the time – dominance and submission. 
Not every business fosters this environment but many do. 
And it’s toxic. 
It destroys confidence, courageousness and engagement.  


There are many types of power and many potentially outdated theories around it.  An interesting one however is French and Raven (1959), and later Raven (1974), stating that there are six bases of social power:


Reward Power:  the ability to give rewards when others comply with your wishes.  This may not work from one setting to the next.  For example, an employee might laugh at a boss’s joke, but the boss’s neighbour might not.

Coercive Power:  the opposite of Reward Power.  It’s the ability to deliver punishments.  While coercion can be effective in the short-term, it creates resentment and individuals will try to end the relationship.

Referent Power:  where role models come into play.  Referent Power is when somebody wants to be like you.  They identify with you.  You are their reference model.  They find you attractive in some way and they model your behaviour or thinking. 

Legitimate Power:  power that comes from a position or role.  It’s positional authority.  For example, you “should” or “ought” to listen to your parents, or your boss.  The unique aspect of legitimate power is that it’s not about rational arguments — the power comes from the position or role. 

Expert Power: “knowledge is power”, where expertise or knowledge is the source. This is where credentials, awards, and know-how play a role.  You end up deferring to greater knowledge for the area of expertise, such as a doctor or mechanic.  It’s limited to the area of expertise. 

Informational Power: the most transitory type of power.  Once you give your information away, you lose the power, e.g. you share the secret, the power is gone.  It’s different from other forms of power because it’s grounded in what you know about the content of a specific situation. 

What types of power do you experience? 

  • How good is your self-awareness? 
  • Is there a fragile base to your need or habit of power? 
  • Are you damaging connections or people by using power? 
  • Do you depend on knowledge for power – and if so, what happens when you don’t have the answers?
  • Are you consciously looking at the impact of power within your workplace?  

At Courageous Success we talk about not giving your power away – we all have the ability to control our emotional response.  

So, what power games are you playing? 

Let Me Look Into Your Eyes!

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

“Eye contact produces a powerful, subconscious sense of connection that extends even to drawn or photographed eyes.”

A fact demonstrated by Researchers at Cornell University who manipulated the gaze of the cartoon rabbit on several Trix cereal boxes, asked a panel of adults to choose one, and discovered, as they expected, that the box most frequently chosen was the one on which the rabbit was looking directly at them, rather than away.
Eye contact is fascinating, at Courageous Success we explore its power in conversations, intuition, gauging your own levels of self confidence and especially in how powerful, warm eye contact shows people that you like them.
We find that people reduce eye contact when talking about something shameful or embarrassing – because they feel uncomfortable – when they are sad or depressed – because they feel uncomfortable – and when they are feeling exposed and vulnerable – because they feel uncomfortable.  Pattern emerging?
Yes we also look away for other reasons, reflection, creativity, excitement.  But our fundamental finding is that for many, looking into the eyes of another makes them feel self-conscious.  Use it as a gauge – see if you can do it – especially without an agenda.  The learning?  Once again, our interactions reduce because we make things about us and lack self confidence.
As I’ve hinted at above, eye contact with warmth is a powerful way of connecting with others.  What makes it powerful?  If you show that you like someone by smiling into their eyes through yours they trust you – try it, notice when others do it to you. 

Warmth disarms,

but it needs to be meant – fake it and others will know.


Forbes shares that in research presented in May 2015 at the Vision Sciences Society conference, psychologist Alan Johnston and his colleagues at University College London shared their study of 400 volunteers, where subjects indicated their comfort level while watching video clips of actors who appeared to be looking directly at them for varying lengths of time.
Johnston and his colleagues found that, on average, the subjects liked the actors to make eye contact with them for 3.2 seconds, but the subjects were comfortable with a longer duration if they felt the actors looked trustworthy as opposed to threatening. “Gaze conveys that you are an object of interest, and interest is linked to intention,” Johnston explains—so if someone appears threatening and holds your gaze, that could indicate that the person has bad intentions.
More science?  Suzanne Dikker, a researcher in Neuroscience at NYU, studies brain activity when people connect by making eye contact.  She uses ‘Science+art’ installations to illustrate it, including ‘Measuring the Magic of Mutual Gaze’.  In this installation, the participants wear EEG headsets to measure brain activity.  Whenever there is a moment of perfect brainwave between the two people, a connective lightning bolt—originating from the direct brain area that is being charged with electrical brain activity at that moment in each person—flashes onto a large screen showing the two brains. 

Warm eye contact says likable, it’s not embarrassing and it’s not about romance!  It’s about letting go of you and connecting with realness with another.   Try it, it works.

Do You Listen or Make Everything About You?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

“One in four corporate leaders has a listening deficit which can paralyse cross-unit collaboration, sink careers, and if it’s the CEO with the deficit, derail the company.”  OUCH!  Ram Charan, co-author of “Boards that Lead”.

Here’s a typical example of an exchange I come across all the time.
Two friends catch up, having just met up after some time.  The pattern of exchange?  “Let me talk about me and my experiences’.  When one had stopped talking about themselves, the other one starts talking about themselves.  And so the interaction continues.  No meaningful responses are made.  We are all so adept at sharing what we are doing and thinking on social media and wanting information as simple soundbites, we have forgotten to be attentive to each other.  
Sherry Turkle (MIT professor and author of ‘Alone Together’) talks about how in the growth of on-line connection:

”…we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection…” a situation where we ”lose out, and may over time forget that there is a difference and stop caring.” 



Turkle talks about how we avoid the realness of human relationships and interactions by ‘cleaning’ them up with technology, to make it on our terms or using it as a way to avoid human interaction altogether – think emailing a work colleague instead of phoning or finding them, and workers sharing an office but all wearing headphones plugged into their devices.

However, real interactions matter, especially at work.  Lots of studies into lack of engagement at work cite ‘not being listened to by managers or leaders’ as a key complaint of workers across business. Gallup in their regular employee engagement research find that, “meaningful exchanges between managers and employees boost the bottom line.”

In our Courageous Success Academy training (how we train our developers) we have a simple exercise around this.  Try it!

  1. Over the next few days note down how you feel when you are not being listened to.  Notice when people hijack your conversation.  How does it make you feel?
  2. Whilst observing others, notice when you jump in to share your experiences, rather than ask others about theirs and sticking to their subject.  What kind of energy is driving your agenda? How desperate are you to share your story rather than get excited for them about theirs?  
  3. Practise giving people your full attention and remain focussed in their conversation and not yours.

Powerfully maximise Coaching & Conversations in your workplace by booking a Courageous Success workshop. e:

I thought it would be another load of management speak, instead I feel inspired with clear tactics to bring out the best in others – and not make it about me!”

Are You Unfit to be a Leader or to be Led?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

As many as 60 to 75 percent of managers are unfit for leadership, according to Psychology Today. Meanwhile, about half of employees cite a bad manager as their top reason for quitting a job.
CNBC, based upon Gallup polls.

This week travelling by tube during the London rush hour, I had the pleasure of overhearing workplace banter.  What was it like?  Shocking!  Why?  It was totally them vs. us – with ‘us’ being the employees, and all fuelled by what these people could get out of it.
As the banter continued what was clear was that, once again, it was about the leadership – the boss – but was it really all their boss’s fault?
Earlier that day I was on the train travelling to London, where next to me a chap chatted on his phone about how he “just didn’t care” about what his boss and employers thought of him.  I wasn’t earwigging, he was speaking loudly and was right next to me!  To make matters worse, he boldly explained to his colleague on the other end of the line that he’d decided to have a lie in, catch a later train and did they fancy spending the rest of the day having lunch?!!

The CNBC report shares five reasons for leaders being toxic:

  1. Poor communication
  2. Micro management
  3. Unrealistic expectations
  4. Incompetence
  5. Arrogance


Recognise any of these in you or your boss?
The challenge is, how to be the boss and not be these things.  But I also challenge, how much of this is perception and the workers’ fault?

To help, here are some challenges to you as the leader or direct report.
See if you are fit to lead – or be led!


  • Are you being closed to people in the team you don’t like, especially when you suspect a lack of competence or engagement?
  • Are you using your position to dominate?
  • Are you just reassured that you’ve got to a leadership position, and therefore are doing well?
  • Are you conforming to your corporate culture or being normal and human?
  • Do you seek advice and input from your team about the stuff you don’t know?
  • Do you like the people you work with and if not, what are you doing about liking them and building their competence?
  • Are you actively driving belief in others and their abilities or always being demanding and getting increasingly frustrated?
  • Would you want to work for you?


  • Are you coasting, seeing yourself as being led or are you getting on with your job?
  • If you feel uncommunicated with, are you asking positive questions or are you being difficult?
  • Are you updating your boss so that they don’t feel the need to micromanage you?
  • If you feel overwhelmed, are you looking to yourself to re organise and get on with it, or procrastinating and moaning – wasting time?
  • Do you like where you work?  If not, what are you doing to change the culture or are you contributing to it negatively?
  • Are you taking accountability for your career or expecting the business or your boss to do this for you?
  • Are you conscious of the greater good – the impact you, the people there and your business has on the world, or are you just thinking of yourself?
  • Are you giving up or driving forward openly and with authenticity – to nail your role?

81% of our clients say they now have the power to change their workplace.
100% rate the impact on improving their performance as a Manager or Leader as over 85%.


Inspiring Workaholism or Doing the Minimum?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

One inspired employee can produce as much as 2.25 satisfied employees.  Wow!

This Bain & Company Stat, featured in an article by Michael Mankins in HBR this March, highlights the need for self-productivity as well as business to WAKE UP to shift from downsizing and cost cutting – efficiency –  to promoting and unleashing more from those who work within a business – us.
Statistics this week reveal that global productivity continues to decline.
One of the joys of my life has been my workaholism – a term which the dictionary describes as, “a person who compulsively works excessively hard and long hours”.  I am that massively productive person.  I am an expert at it!  But, I have over done it and to prove it, I have recently been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. My body is reflecting my relentless overdrive to make a difference.  As an expert on this, one of my favourite subjects, I invite you to explore efficiency vs. productivity and the role that inspiration plays in the latter.  How do we work more productively and not fall into dossing about, and how do we inspire others in our businesses to do the same?
As I review the global workplace I am inspired by much, but I also see;

  • Worried people, and a level of anxiety that puts us on personal red alert.
  • A lack of joy and inspiration as we robotically tick off our to do lists to get through it all.
  • A focus on the self rather than the greater good, “that’s not inspiring me”, rather than “that could inspire others to make a significant positive difference”.
  • Self-effacement, as people keep things to themselves, reducing openness, honesty and a human culture, yet on the other hand hold up on Facebook how amazing their world is.
  • A divide between work and life outside of work, with the former formal and an act of doing, and the latter recovery time or a dreamlike place to be – if only forever – fuelling laziness (ouch) and resentment – a “I look after myself” focus.

When I then reflect upon what inspires me to (ok excessively) be productive I find the following to be of vital importance;

  • I feel a purpose and take accountability for thriving in my work.
  • I choose to be positive and I believe I make a difference.
  • I admit my vulnerability and galvanise my courage to get me through challenges.
  • I am myself, and believe that the best person I can be is me.

If efficiency is doing more with less, then productivity is doing more with the same.  However, most businesses are stuck in cost cutting, process reengineering and restructuring to maximise the bottom line.  When we think about managing ourselves we tend to think the same.  What can I drop?  How will I prioritise?  The result?  A treadmill of transactional doing.  With inspiration and ideas to do more with the same, through creativity, generally left for, “when I have time”.
Creativity is inspiring – but achievement is addictive.
85% of Courageous Success clients have a value around achievement – often described as making a difference, having an impact and contribution.  It is addictive because it provides validation and recognition, we don’t want to be dossing about!   Productivity – doing more with the same is Courageous Success the verb – but rather than being applied to pace, speed and content – efficiency – it is viewing everything with creative eyes and energy to inspire what could be done better to achieve even more.


Imagine if every leader had this as their philosophy!





So, it’s less hard work more smart work.  I for one have taken the vow of productivity, what’s getting in your way of doing the same?

  • Are you selfishly thinking about yourself too much – is there a ‘what’s in it for me’ malaise hampering your business and personal growth?
  • Are you as productive as you could be at work or do you work to a level that is what you think you can get away with? Controversial!
  • Are you enduring your work life?  The phrase ‘work to live’ plays into this – it assumes that these are two separate things – one to be enjoyed, the other to be ‘endured’ to pay for it.  Do you feel like this?

Coming back to global and specifically UK productivity, the head of the UK CMI Ann Francke said of last week’s ONS productivity figures, ”Investment in skills and management training is a crucial step to boosting productivity….poor management is costing our economy £84bn each year, and Britain lags other countries when it comes to people skills.”  YES!

Are you being a life changing manager?  An inspirer?




Here are some Courageous Success tips for igniting your inspiring productivity:

Switch off the autopilot!
We are creatures of habit and go through a large proportion of our lives unconsciously. Stir things up.  Take a new route to work.  Regularly speak to people you wouldn’t normally.  Draw ideas on a blank piece of paper.  If you do what you always do, you’ll get what you’ve always got.
Embrace challenge!
Taking on new opportunities will give you the chance to learn and grow. Learning helps the brain evolve new pathways which will literally change your mind. Set yourself a daily or weekly challenge to inspire and see how to do more with the same.

Ask us about working with us 1:1 to boost you and your leader’s productivity, all whilst being the best of ourselves.  We are also now running “I am a life changing manager” workshops, there to potentially save business £84bn.


It’s OK to be Normal!

Business From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

It was an ironic twist for Theresa May, the week after the ’17 UK general election, the Museum of Failures opened in Sweden and received global press attention.

Exhibiting such things as the Bic pen for women and coffee flavoured Coca Cola (yuk!), the museum has the strap line ”Learning is the only way to turn failure into success’’, showcasing failure and celebrating it as a key ingredient to innovation.  Speaking to the BBC the museum’s founder, Samuel West, said that many major brands were just not willing to contribute, showing just how difficult it can be to admit failure.  Has this now become a cultural norm?  From Facebook and Instagram showing only the ‘best’ of people’s lives, the airbrushing of imperfections in photos, to schools and colleges removing winners and losers from sporting events – all creating a new ‘perfect’ normal, where mistakes are seen as weaknesses to be hidden and never spoken about.

However there is change on the horizon, Samuel West, the founder, also talked about his teenage daughter taking the Museum of Failure stickers to school, where they were becoming popular and being adopted as badges to be worn with pride.  His daughters’ friends’ identifying that failure is normal, honest and human.

According to a Harvard Business Review study: ‘’When leaders are true to themselves and admit mistakes or failures it gives others permission to do the same, changing the norms of the workplace.’’  The benefits are reported as: significantly higher job satisfaction and engagement, greater happiness at work, stronger sense of community, more inspiration and lower job stress. The more people share of themselves with others, the better the workplace experience.  Spending less time and energy on self-monitoring freed up more time and energy for the task at hand.

In practice this means; not following the crowd, not being self-conscious and bringing the real you into work – being the same you in work as out of work.

Showing that you are human,

normal and vulnerable – like we all are. 


As Julie Hilton, our Head of iAM Global, said the same week: ”it’s time to let rip!”
Ways to humanise and normalise your workplace.
  • When was the last time that you openly admitted to a mistake?  Do your co-workers or team feel able to freely admit mistakes and ask for help?  Make the change so this honesty becomes normal.
  • Do you always try and present the perfect you?  Get over yourself – it’s a façade. Being authentic is accepting the real you – warts and all.  
  • Be honest about your weaknesses and view them as opportunities to look outside of yourself.  Find the strengths in others.
  • Stop seeking approval – be honest and say what you really think. Stop trying – just be.
  • Are you often judgemental about others? This can stop you valuing those around you.  Turn off your critical voice, really listen and be open to others.
  • Be led by your heart and not your mind, trust those hunches and go with your intuition. 
What will you put into the museum of failure?

Is Your Political Diplomacy Holding Your Business Back?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

In the run up to the UK 2017 general election, commentators described political leaders as being robotic, too ready to back down, dodging the key issues and lacking in boldness and conviction.

Couple this with the rise in political u-turns made by all parties on announced policies which are then ‘seen’ as unpopular, is this need to be popular, to please all, leading to a lack of courage by those in power to make the tough, brave decisions needed?

Love him or hate him, maybe one of the reasons Trump won the US election was his courting of controversy throughout his campaign. Being seen as a leader prepared to rock the boat, to have clear, if controversial, conviction?

Are you prepared to have opinions and share them?

Similarities can be seen in business, potentially allowing the ordinary and low risk to be the norm, rather than the high risk and extra-ordinary, leading to lack of vision and creativity.

Are you holding your business back?  (ooh controversial!)

Harvard Business Review often share that ”decisiveness is one of the most vital success attributes for leaders in every position in every industry, but few understand where it comes from or how to find more of it”.

What can stop us all taking bold decisions?

Over collaboration – the need to get everyone on board creating decisions by committee.

Wanting harmony – the need to keep everyone happy.

Couple the above with the fact that many of us doubt ourselves, feel that we’re not ‘good enough’ and cultivate a fear of upsetting others and being unpopular.

All this affects the speed and efficacy of decisions in business.

Do you let decisions drag on and eventually become diluted and lesser compromises?

NYU studies have found that when contemplating a decision virtually all will temporarily exhibit the same personality traits – neuroticism, low sense of control and pessimism – all linked to indecisiveness.  However, as soon as we make the decision and create the steps to execute it, our brains automatically switch gear to feel confident, capable and in control. 

What are your opinions on your world and are you sharing them? 

Are you the reason for your staff turnover?

Business From Courageous Success

One in four people are looking for new roles in 2017, (according to Investors in People’s annual ‘Job Exodus Trends’ report) with a massive 42% citing their boss as causing them to be unhappy in their job.

This statistic shows the big impact that managers have on employee happiness, well-being and engagement.
Paul Devoy, Head of Investors in People, comments: ”This sends a clear message to British business to invest in your people or risk losing them.”

Gallup in recent reports cite that ”a disturbingly high percentage of managers around the world are not meeting the needs of their employees. Actively disengaged employees (24%) outnumber engaged employees (13%) by nearly 2-to-1,  implying that at the global level, work is more often a source of frustration than fulfillment.”   Companies with low engagement are less productive, less profitable and less likely to be loyal.  Low loyalty creates staff turnover, which according to Gallup  ”can cost businesses approximately 1.5 times the annual salary of every person who quits.”

Is managing people that difficult?  Or are many of us making it that way?

Many managers are often really good at doing the management ‘tasks’: business processes or imperatives, but neglect the ‘being’ of a manager, which requires a wider people perspective, really tuning into others, listening and being authentic.    

How many of us can cite a person that has inspired us in our lives?  When people really believe in us it can create a magical spark that can ignite a change in us that shifts something fundamental – a life changing impact.
If you are a manager of people when was the last time you looked at the people in your team and totally saw the best in them – when they couldn’t see it in themselves.  Being more conscious of how you manage others can create life changing management.
Ask yourself –  would you enjoy working with you?  

Our top tips for being a Life Changing Manager – and to keep your people!

  • Life changing managers care, and they mean it.  Bring friendship to your relationships.
  • Be egoless.  Formality, distance, hierarchy and the use of bossy status remove the power to change lives as a manager.
  • Be the same person at work with your team as at home.  We want to work for people we like.
  • You already are inspiring, don’t feel that you need to change to be a manager, be yourself.
  • Clarity is key.  Most of us are not clear on our role. Don’t be afraid to define responsibilities and ask for what is needed.
  • Listen and ask questions rather than telling your team what to do.  How would you get your best friend to achieve something?  Do the same.
  • Treat as you’d like to be treated and better.  Have boundaries on behaviour and demonstrate empathy in how you give feedback and challenge.
  • Build belief in others.  See the best in them when they can’t see it in themselves. 
  • Be resilient.  This is not about you.  It’s about others feeling great about themselves and loving their work and working with you.  Be the spotlight highlighting what’s great in and for your team.
  • Enjoy it.  Love the connections and time together.  Don’t conform to traditional status.


Be the reason your team stay.

The Future of Work is Human

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

The recent CIPD Absence Management Report  (2016) highlights stress as still being the top reason for long-term absence at work and the second most common reason for short term absence.  The main causes of stress are cited in the report as volume of work at 55%, and a staggering 32% being caused by management style.
In business today we are still getting human relationships, communication and the management of others wrong and costing ourselves money and lost productivity.
Peter Cheese (CEO of CIPD) in a recent talk entitled ‘The Future of work is Human’ highlighted the trends that business needs to address to be successful in the future – reducing stress at work, how engagement levels are ‘languishing’ (Gallup measure Worldwide active engagement at a staggeringly low 13%) and the need to improve this by maximising human potential, enabling people to do the best they can – make work more meaningful and purposeful for those employed.   He cites lack of trust as an issue for society as a whole (think banking crisis, current view of politicians) and how this can also be a barrier to engagement at work and business success.    The HBR Quality of Life @ Work study, backs this up finding that ”how much trust and safety employees experience correlates to how respected they feel by their leaders. Employees who felt that their leaders treated them with respect were 63% more satisfied with their jobs, 55% more engaged, 58% more focused, and 110% more likely to stay with their organization.”
When Gallup measures engagement at work – the impact of managers makes up 70% of the variance.
The Great Place to Work Institute produces the “100 Best Companies to Work For” and trust comprises two-thirds of the criteria they use, their research shows that –



” between managers and employees is the primary defining characteristic of the very best workplaces.”



So, some companies Worldwide are getting it right – what’s happening in the ones that are getting it wrong?

All too often at work we worry about what people think of us, are busy trying to fit in and do and say the ‘right’ thing:  we become masked trying to be the person we think we should be, to be ‘good enough’ – this leads to lack of authenticity, creates conformity, and hinders real communication and genuine relationships.
Leaders and managers tend to have a transactional perspective – seeing the tasks rather than the person involved.  This is compounded by old methods of training focusing on ways of doing, using an ‘outside in’ approach – ‘do it this way’, rather than an ‘inside out approach’ which respects the individual – engaging their values, promoting their strengths and building confidence.   The old fashioned ‘outside in’ approach results in conformity, failure to challenge the status quo and bad behaviours which can add to workplace stress.     In simple terms – if you feel you can’t be who you really are at work – you will experience stress.

Managers and leaders need to look beyond the task to the person, and create an environment of trust and respect – a more human approach.   We all need to take more responsibility for our impact on others and make it more positive, keep our power, manage our emotional response and get rid of that blame culture.

We all need to sign up to a new way of doing things – Business The New Way. 

This is about bringing the real us to work:  being honest, no pretence, truly being yourself, and letting others be the same.   Authenticity builds trust.
Let go of that mask you wear at work to look competent and appear how you think you ‘should’ – stop being that person you think others want to see.
Be aware of your impact on others – manage your emotional response.


Look at the measures above and score out of 10 to see how you and your business measures up.
Make a note of the scores that you’d like to improve the most.
Think about what could be stopping you showing these behaviours and consider what actions you could take to improve the scores.

We can help you humanise your workplace.
Through cultural review, workshops and 1:1’s, using our iAM tool to reveal values, we can bring out the goodness and human potential in everyone.  If people bring the best of themselves to work every day – they will naturally transform behaviour with extraordinary impact.  Ditch the old ‘outside in’ approach to people development that never seems to stick and do Business The New Way.  Change starts with one person, one business at a time.
Can you afford to be left behind?

Do you act as Judge & Jury?

Business From Courageous Success Growth

We’ve all heard about the two minute rule – that most of us,  when interviewing,  decide about a candidate within two minutes of meeting them.

It now appears that the two minute rule of judgement is an over estimation, research on how our brains make decisions about trust has shown that decisions about whether we trust people or not is made by our brains before we are even consciously aware of a face!  Reported in The Journal of Neuroscience the research by New York University was conducted by flashing images of faces to volunteers for only milliseconds whilst their brain activity was being monitored –  specifically activity in the amygdala, a region of the brain that plays a key role in decision making and emotional behaviour.  This study pinpoints exactly when the brain renders it’s judgement about trustworthiness and it’s frighteningly quick.   “Our findings suggest that the brain automatically responds to a face’s trustworthiness before it is even consciously perceived,”  Dr. Jonathan Freeman,  assistant professor of psychology at New York University and the study’s senior author,  “The results are consistent with an extensive body of research suggesting that we form spontaneous judgments of other people that can be largely outside awareness.”



We know from our own research that most people cite a gap of 30% between their current performance and their potential – our habit of judging others contributes to this.



We can be closed to others before we even hear what they say.  It can stop us growing – being open to new ideas, experiences or people or stop us promoting the growth of others.    Our snap judgements cloud our ability to be objective, leading to managers hiring the mirror images of themselves (an office of clones anyone?) stops us seeing the value in difference and stifles diversity.  We are challenged to work with people who are not ‘just like us’.
It also stops us taking a kind approach to others when they say or do something that either triggers us or challenges our own view.  When we judge people we work with we can be blind to their true potential or possibilities, we can put them in a box and make up our own story about them that may not be true or could be unjust.

The good new is all our brains are elastic, we can learn new habits of thinking to create a more open mind and an ability to adapt and grow.

Tips for opening your mind.

  • Become conscious of your everyday running commentary on what is going on around you – how often are you being judgemental about others?
  • Consciously notice the differences you see or feel in a blink – learn how you filter the world around you.  If you don’t like your filters you can change them.
  • Create a habit of reacting to the ideas and opinions of others in a neutral way.
  • Learn to pause before reacting to something that challenges your view of the world – choose to respond in a positive way.