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Self-Help Advice May Have Very Little To Do With Yourself

FastcompanyShould You Consider Self-Help To Be Happier And More Successful? has some really great content.  Below is an excerpt of an article published on their site.  To read the whole article, the link to the full article is at the bottom of the page.

Should You Consider Self-Help To Be Happier And More Successful?

Research suggests that the best self-help advice may have very little to do with yourself.

Self-help advice isn’t exactly in short supply. There are research-backed tips out there for boosting confidence, resilience, risk taking, and adaptability. The message is pretty clear: Feel better about yourself or change your beliefs about what you’re capable of, and you’ll excel. Indeed, ample scientific evidence supports each of these claims.

Why The Benefit Of The Doubt Is So Hard To Give

It can be difficult to believe that others generally have the best intentions; that just isn’t many people’s default assumption. We’re socialized from a young age to be critical of others’ motives, if not downright suspicious. Parents tell their children for their own protection to beware of strangers. And it’s not hard to find evidence in daily life that expressions like “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” has some truth to it. In an era of fake news, taking anything at face value seems potentially foolhardy.

The Self-Help Approach That’s Not About You

To be sure, there are risks to assuming the best in others.  But the benefits may far outweigh the potential costs, especially in the workplace.

Conflict is a difficult but often inevitable part of our work lives. According to Harvard Business School professor Chris Argyris, a top cause of workplace discord is the “ladder of inference” (basically what he sees as a more precise metaphor than “jumping to conclusions”). Climbing up the ladder means that a person takes in neutral information but assumes bad intentions, which results in less favorable beliefs and bad behavior.

One of the biggest opportunities for growth at work comes from the way you solicit feedback and what you do with it afterward. Research demonstrates that while employees who speak up tend to improve how well teams function, many tend to be afraid to do so, worrying that their input won’t be well-received. Simply assuming the best in others can lay the foundation for managers and their team members alike to learn and improve without wounding egos.

About the author

David Mayer is associate professor of management and organizations at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business.  More

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