After appearing on a phone in last week, this week seemed to be a week to listen to them!

This one was a football phone in and a football fan had called in to justify why he and his fellow fans thought it was a good idea to boo their own players. Jason Roberts, a professional footballer, was aghast at the idea.

“How can you possibly think that booing your own players is going to help them?”

“It might not help some, but there are definitely some players who want to prove you wrong when you boo them”, was the confident reply.

A player at Spurs had a different view;

“when your fans get behind you it’s the most exciting feeling possible. It’s so important that a player feels appreciated by his own fans – otherwise he has to fight against them as well as the other team and their supporters.”


Whilst at Liverpool Fernando Torres said;

“With just 45,000 fans there, that roar they give makes you think you have wings on your feet.”

I wonder if the fans at Chelsea give him the same sense of invincibility?

There doesn’t appear to be any logic in the football fans argument that booing your own players will make them player better. It also begs the question why in other environments, work and home life for example, do we spend so much time telling people what they are doing wrong rather than telling them what they are doing well?

There has been an example of this in the last week with the row between Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron, with the French president expressing rage at the constant criticism and lectures from UK ministers.

Sarkozy bluntly told Cameron: “You have lost a good opportunity to shut up.” He added: “We are sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do. You say you hate the euro and now you want to interfere in our meetings.”

You wonder if there would have been a different interaction if Cameron and the Government had taken a more positive approach, whilst still having the same goals they currently have….

Recent research suggests that the vast majority of what children hear consists of them being told not to do this and not to do that. If we are not taking the time to explain what they do well, and why they do it well, how can we expect them to grow and improve?

In work environments, the more enlightened managers and leaders spend their time trying to “catch people doing something right” and then giving them suitable levels of praise and recognition. In doing this it is important to bear in mind that the praise needs to be specific and related to a specific behaviour or action, rather than praise for praise sake.

There are many Business Leaders who have been influenced by the work of Ken Blanchard and he believes if he had to choose just one thing to teach about for the rest of his life, he has no doubt that “catching people doing things right” would be his lasting message. His research has shown that positive reinforcement and redirection can help increase productivity.

Think about somebody that you have worked with and admired. How did they behave? How did they treat you? How much belief did they have in you? What impact did this have on you?

Now think about somebody who you worked for that you didn’t respect or admire and ask yourself the same questions.

Research in the States has shown that 64% of people leave their jobs not because of the company or the work conditions, instead they leave because of the Boss they work for. This demonstrates that the way we motivate at work is key.

The question is, what type of fan are you?

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