I love catching up on research that speaks to interactions and relationships. At the root of these relationships, is your own situation, as well as your unique emotions, fears, challenges, strengths, and more. For our purposes here, I hone in on the workplace, with tips from psychology resources that are of course, applicable to life relationships as well.
Mistakes have a plus side.
Do you get frustrated and self-critical while struggling to learn a new skill? Cut yourself some slack and adopt the mindset that each mistake takes you closer to mastery.
In a recent study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, subjects who had this kind of optimistic attitude, called a “growth mindset,” were better able to learn from missed items on a multiple-choice test than their peers, who were not as open to the possibility of evolving after a setback or error. The research revealed that believing your abilities can adapt and improve makes challenges feel less threatening, so you’re able to take setbacks in stride and improve on the next try.
Smart way to avert angry outbreaks.
Perhaps you feel you’ve been snubbed or offended. Calm down by drafting an email to the person you’re mad at. But don’t send it! This suggestion comes from scientists in the journal, Scientific Reports. In their study, people played a game in which they could withhold money from others who dealt with their anger by taking a time-out, distracting themselves, or drafting a complaint. The results? Letter writers showed the most composure, even when the note wasn’t sent. That’s because expressing their anger in words helps people get closure and distance.
Four words that enhance persuasiveness.
Getting an underperforming – or perhaps shy– team member to voluntarily serve on a task force or committee, could be as simple as starting your request with, “You will probably refuse …” In a recent study, French researchers collected donations for a non-profit group by either cutting right to the chase or opening with those four magic words. They found that being less direct led to a 56 percent increase in donors. The reason? By giving others an “out,” you show respect for their freedom to choose, making them more receptive to your appeal.
Quick-trick fix for embarrassment.
If a faux pas a workplace party or a heated discussion by the water-cooler leave you feeling awkward, head through the nearest doorway to another room. In a new study in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers had participants work their way through a virtual space made up of various rooms and doorways. The surprising discovery: People had weaker memories for details in rooms they’d just left.
Called the “doorway effect,” crossing the threshold from one space to another prompts the brain to store memories related to the room they just left. This consolidation process creates a mental boundary, so the specifics are no longer top of mind, making recall more difficult.
Speedy spark for creative thinking.
Before tackling a tough to-do, take a brief time-out to chat with a colleague. According to new research in the journal, Social Psychological & Personality Science, doing so will sharpen your thinking. In the study, people who socialized for 10 minutes in a friendly, supportive way, benefited from an increase in mental acuity, focus, and memory equivalent to the boost one gets from doing a crossword puzzle. The reason? Chitchat gets you to empathize with other people and enter fresh viewpoints, stretching your mind to think in w ways.
What experiences or ideas do you have regarding improved interactions and relationships in in the workplace? Especially if they’re backed by science? I’d love to hear from you! Please comment below.