Sunday, 4 July 2010

How Full is Your Bucket?

The Theory of the Dipper and the Bucket
"Each of us has an invisible bucket. It is constantly emptied of filled, depending on what others say or do to us. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When it's empty, we feel awful.
Each of us also has an invisible dipper. When we use that dipper to fill other people's buckets - by saying or doing things to increase their positive emotions - we also fill our own bucket. But when we use that dipper to dip from others' buckets - by saying or doing thints that decrease their positive emotions - we diminish ourselves." How Full is Your Bucket (p. 5)
These are the first parapraphs of How Full is Your Bucket written by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton Phd. This grandson and grandfather duo, both Gallup researchers and leaders take an interesting look at positivity and its connection to relationships, both personal and professional, as well as to productivity. The book also touches on customer service and most importantly it spends a great deal of time in discussion about employee recognition and engagement. In fact, this is the sort of book that would be really interesting to give to a management team if you were starting them on a recognition program. It provides a good rationale for employee recognition and then it provides some suggestions for getting started.

I'm not a total fan of their "drops," approach, however, as I can see it having the potential to become a bit trite. I can see certain managers overusing these, withouth really grasping their value. I can also see employees seeing them as impersonal after awhile, if managers relied on only this approach.

Certainly Rath and Clifton express the philosophy that "positivity must be grounded in reality." (p. 45) They also cite that "More than 13 positive interactions for every 1 negative interaction could decrease productivity." (p. 44) The issue to me is that managers could really buy into employee recognition, without understanding the whole picture. They would really need to be willing to learn about it from all aspects and then to practice it.

In any case, the book is a good start to understanding why employee recognition is so necessary in the workplace, how positivity creates productivity, and how to build positive emotions; all great for building personal and workplace relationships.

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