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By Fred Kofman
Philosopher and Vice President at Linkedin

There’s no such thing as
‘the hole is on your side of the boat’

The paradox in performance improving conversations is that in order for us to work better together we have to tell each other things that may create stress in our relationship.

As I discussed here, in order to act we must feel the gap between what we have and what we want, between what is and what we want it to be. This gap creates a tension that, just like the tension between the poles of a battery, gives us the energy to act. But this action also creates stress and the desire to relax the tension by unconscious means such as blame or avoidance.

The typical blaming move is to give “negative feedback” in a judgmental, patronizing and arrogant way. To start with criticism, follow with orders and end with threats is not effective. “It’s your fault. You broke it, so you better fix it!” is a really bad way to go. We’re on the same boat; we float or we sink together.

A much better way is to start with appreciation, follow that with suggestions and end with an agreement.


Find more exercises related to mindfulness at work here

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