Learning depends on our grasp of what we’re doing well, not what we’re doing poorly

Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall discuss some fascinating research about how people learn in their essay The Feedback Fallacy:

What findings such as these show us is, first, that learning happens when we see how we might do something better by adding some new nuance or expansion to our own understanding. Learning rests on our grasp of what we’re doing well, not on what we’re doing poorly, and certainly not on someone else’s sense of what we’re doing poorly. And second, that we learn most when someone else pays attention to what’s working within us and asks us to cultivate it intelligently.

As a parent it’s natural to see the elements of “positive parenting” in this research. We (generally) don’t have to deal with tantrums at work, but it still makes sense people would be more motivated by this approach than by reminders of what they’re doing wrong. Something to keep in mind as we work with our teams.