Filling Your Bucket

There has been a lot of attention lately on a positive outlook and attitude in life and in business. Without a doubt much of it stems from people feeling down about the economy, losing their job, or making changes and sacrifices they never intended.

My daughter recently came home to tell me all about a book her pre-Kindergarten class has been reading, “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud. As she proceeded to tell me who filled her bucket and who had taken away from her bucket that day, it occurred to me that this was a great book for anyone, at any age and in any situation. As the book explains, we all have an invisible bucket and we need to keep it filled to be happy and content in life. We can’t just fill the bucket ourselves; others fill it for us through their actions. We contribute to our bucket when we fill someone else’s. Thus, the feeling you have when you have done something good for another person.

I decided to purchase the book so the whole family could benefit from such a wise and wonderful story. It was then that I came across the New York Times best seller, “How Full is Your Bucket” by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton. I’m surprised this book didn’t jump out at me earlier both because of its subject matter and because one of my favorite books is Tom Rath’s “Strength Finder 2.0”.

As you may have guessed, “How Full is Your Bucket” uses the bucket and dipper metaphor to explain how fulfilled and engaged we are. It wasn’t surprising to me to find that one person’s negative attitude or actions can bring down the well-being of everyone round them. That person’s negativity doesn’t just stop there, it can be passed along like a virus to second tier friends, family and colleagues. Catching the “negative virus” is bad enough, but in the book we learn it is more than negative words or actions that can affect everything from our productivity to our health. Rath quotes a Gallup poll which reveals managers who ignore their team do more damage than those who focus on an employees’ weakness.

“When people reported that their manager did not focus on their strengths or their weaknesses (the manager ignored employees), there was a 40% change of them being actively disengaged on the job. If their manager focused primarily on weaknesses (and presumably was at least paying attention), things actually got better, and there was only a 22% chance of them being disengaged.”

I’m interested in hearing about your experiences. What have you learned in your professional or personal life about the affect of negative individuals? Would you rather your manager provided negative feedback or no feedback at all?

 

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