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Managers as Mentors, 3rd Edition by Marshall Goldsmith, Chip R. Bell

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Champion Growers Don’t “Affirm Conditionally”

Conditional affirmation (“Annabeth, you’re doing a great job, but … “) turns the receiver deaf to the positive piece of the commentary. And if the critique carries parental tones, power and status issues are also raised. So what do the best leaders do? They separate praise and criticism. If your goal is to praise, then praise. If your goal is to criticize, then criticize. Mixing the two in the same sentence or session can turn a confirming pat on the back into a controlling kick in the pants.

The word “champion” comes from the Latin word campio which means “trial by combat.” The implication is that champions are not “the lucky few”; they are those who have been tested in adversity or challenge and ...

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