I came across a great post by Jon Harvey on his blog which included the statement:

There seems to be a link between how successful a person is and how successful they expected (or were expected) to be…But the importance of expectation, self belief and the confidence in oneself which go hand in hand is there, it seems to me.

He related that to managers who say they haven’t thanked their staff since none of them had done anything extraordinary that, in their view, deserved a thank you.  Haven’t we all met (been managed by) them?

Oh yes, absolutely. 

His comments brought NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) to my mind – crudely put, perhaps, what the brain receives happens.

I’m old enough to remember when Muhammad Ali used to shout “I am the greatest!”.  How we Brits laughed.

But of course he did become the greatest heavy weight boxer of his era.  In later years (before his medical problems) I remember he was asked why he said that and he replied “I was creating my own future history”.  What a great line – I was creating my own future history.  If he’d gone around mumbling “Oh, God, I’m useless, I’ll never get anywhere” that’s exactly where he’d have got.

Transferring that to the work situation, if managers (I couldn’t call them leaders if they do this) go around moaning “What a bunch of *****” about their staff that’s what they’ll get – a bunch of *****. 

If they think their people are amazing and reinforce that at every opportunity, that’s what they’ll be – amazing.

It always stuns me that the managers Jon describes (“…he had not thanked any of his staff of late since none of them had done anything extraordinary”) have working for them people who in their private lives:

  • take on the responsibility of bringing up children
  • purchase an asset (a house) worth well into six figures
  • look after aged relatives
  • give time and money to charity
  • devote themselves to the most unexpected and challenging interests and hobbies.

Done nothing extraordinary?