1. We are not reliable raters of people. In fact over half of our rating of someone is actually a reflection of ourselves (the idiosyncratic rater effect
2. Personal development and knowledge gain is not like filling a glass of water, it’s more like growing a plant. It requires nurture not brute force.
In one experiment scientists split students into two groups. To one group they gave positive coaching, asking the students about their dreams and how they’d go about achieving them.
The scientists probed the other group about homework and what the students thought they were doing wrong and needed to do.
While those conversations were happening, the scientists hooked each student up to a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine to see which parts of the brain were most activated in response to these sorts of attention.
In the brains of the students asked about what they needed to correct, the sympathetic nervous system lit up. This is the “fight or flight” system, which mutes the other parts of the brain and allows us to focus only on the information most necessary to survive. Your brain responds to critical feedback as a threat and narrows its activity. The strong negative emotion produced by criticism “inhibits access to existing neural circuits and invokes cognitive, emotional, and perceptual impairment”.
Focusing people on their shortcomings or gaps doesn’t enable learning. It impairs it.
The Feedback Fallacy, Harvard Business Review