Negatives are Forever

October 16 2016
By: Terry L. Mathis

Pavlov found that once dogs had been punished for a particular behavior, it was difficult, and in some cases impossible, to get them to repeat that behavior again. When we ask workers if discipline is administered fairly in their organization, they often tell of instances in which they think a fellow worker was punished unfairly. When we ask the follow-up question, "When did that happen?" the answer is often many years ago.

safety for new hires

Even with good intentions, we may create bad experiences through criticism or harsh correction that will never go away. Creating a harsh interaction can permanently damage relationships, and enough damaged relationships can create a bad culture. Sometimes we would be better served by trying to build on each other's strengths than by correcting each other's faults; especially if our correction techniques create a negative experience.

Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.

Subscribe to our newsletter