August '19

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66 THE SHOP AUGUST 2019 W hether you're mentoring a new hire or trying to get one of your managers to improve an aspect of their performance, there's one principle that's a proven game-changer: gravitate toward the positive when addressing another person, and treat them like they matter. Focusing on what employees do wrong, from the kid sweeping the floor to the lead installer at your shop, doesn't work nearly as well as acknowledging what they do right and then leading them to greater achievements. The reason why this works in nearly every instance boils down to how the brain oper- ates. According to experts, the prefrontal cortex—the brain's decision-making hub right behind the forehead—has circuits that make us happy, engaged and positive about our best selves, while there are other circuits that can bog us down in negative thinking, impair our performance with low energy and leave us feeling defeated. The positive circuitry activates when we think about a goal we have, and how good we'll feel when we achieve it. This moti- vates us, and helps us sustain momentum toward our goals, even in the face of obsta- cles and setbacks. This can be exemplified when a vehicle new or unknown to your staff comes into your shop, and there isn't much tech- nical information available on how to work on it. When your techs spend time to assess its similarities to what they do know and then figure out how to restore or modify it without having to call some noted authority or expert repeatedly, this is one of those shining moments where everyone feels good about themselves and their fellow team members. The negative circuitry, meanwhile, does just the opposite: closes us down, makes us defensive and gets us ready to give up. Take, for example, an outside sales man- ARE YOU POSITIVE? Build a better shop by having a better attitude. Story and Photos by Jason R. Sakurai 66 THE SHOP AUGUST 2019 Thinking about a goal activates positive cir- cuitry about how we feel when it's achieved. Your support improves your staff's level of competency and encourages teamwork.

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