Build ‘Em Up, Don’t Beat ‘Em Up

The background to this post can be found here : Change The Way You See Everything

It seems that one of the consistencies with Deficit Based Thinkers is the premise that no one else “gets it” quite like them, that the Deficit Based Thinker is usually ‘more right’ or ‘knows better’ than those around them.  It breeds an inherently condescending point of view.  For example, do any of these sound familiar….?

“Why didn’t you…”
“That won’t work!”
“Oh no, not again!”
“That’s impossible”
“They just don’t get it”
“How could you let this happen?”
“What’s wrong with you?”

They are things that we all say every other day, mainly subconsciously.  And in their own very subtle ways, they only serve to place the person saying these words in a position of “knowing better” and talking down to the other person.

This is where I think Asset Based Thinking can have it’s most subtle but profound impact on your perception of others, and the way they react to you.  Taking those examples, let’s review what an Asset Based Thinker might say instead…

“Why didn’t you…” could be “What was in your way?”
“That won’t work!” could be “What could work?”
“Oh no, not again!” could be “Things could be better, but we’ve seen this before, what’s next?”
“That’s impossible” could be “What is possible?”
“You just don’t get it” could be “You disagree, why?”
“How could you let this happen?” could be “How could you have prevented this?”
“What’s wrong with you?” could be “What’s troubling you?”

The essense of the ABT alternatives to those examples is pretty simple, and it’s a character trait, or technique that is used by all of the very best leaders, coaches and managers in business…

Instead of beating someone down with your “better” opinion, build them up by asking them to explore their own opinions and thoughts more deeply.

By taking on the role of coach, or teacher instead of simply shelling out how you own thoughts and opinions could have yielded better results, you are not only helping the other person to grow, you’re also growing yourself.


1 Comment

  1. Justine:

    Great advice and thanks for the good words about Asset_based Thinking and our book. The Build up rather than beat up mindset is needed now, more than ever. The political campaigns, bail-outs, push us towards deficit based thinking. ABT takes a little practice and as you said, by playing the role of coach and teacher you can get past all of that. Thanks for being part of the positive conspiracy….come visit our website and blog.

    Keep up the great work.


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