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Learn the Impact of the Recursive and Reflective Effect

As a leader, did you ever stop to think about how many lives you touch with everything you do or say (or don’t do or say)? Regardless if you believe you are an effective or ineffective leader you have a broader impact than you may believe.

Recursive Effect

What if you were having a bad day and treated an employee harshly late on a Friday? They, in turn treat their friends and family badly all weekend. And in turn treat others badly… The cycle continues.

The Recursive Effect is nothing more than a cascading repetition of behavior. It always begins when someone knocks over the first domino. It may be the person that cuts you off in traffic or the thank you note on your desk when you arrive at the office. Either way most people have a tendency to continue the cycle and then those people continue the cycle until it loses momentum. By that time 10, 30, 50, or even more people are impacted not even knowing how it started.

As leaders we can easily fall prey to this effect if we are cavalier about how we treat employees. If you treat an employee harshly on Friday afternoon, they will not be too happy to see you on Monday. What if you treat that employee harshly over-and-over?

A better question, what if you understand this effect and were able to leverage it?

What if you had the same broad impact but did it in a positive way and on a consistent basis? What happens to your employee and those that they impact… in a positive way.

Let’s test this a bit.

What if on Friday afternoon, you made a habit of genuinely recognizing the positive work that your employee has done for the week? The employee goes home and warmly greets their family. A friend asks how is work going and the response is “Great, I love working there and my boss is so gracious. I am constantly inspired to do my best.” The people in this employee’s life are more drawn toward them, making that employee feel better.

How well do you think that employee will perform next week?

What if you do this over-and-over?

What positive impact is there on your business and your livelihood?

Reflective Effect

The Reflective Effect is what comes back to you and your business. How you treat employees comes back to you (Reflects) over time as in the example of the Friday afternoon harsh employee treatment or the Friday afternoon employee positive recognition.

One step further…

What do you believe will happen when you combine the Recursive Effect with the Reflective Effect?

It becomes a multiplier!

If you don’t believe this then think back on a time when you treated an employee only slightly harsh and then you notice other people in the department were a bit stand-offish. The employee may have talked to several other employees… that talked to other employees and soon the Recursive Effect was in full swing. The Reflective Effect was how you were being viewed about this one little event… by several people.

What if I told you, this may have a profound impact on:

  • Your business
  • Your livelihood
  • Your bonus
  • Your next promotion

What if you treated employees like precious gems giving them the kindness and respect they deserve? What would the Recursive X Reflective multiplier look like then? Granted negative news travels faster and deeper (something to keep in mind) than positive news… You just need to do more of it.

Oh by-the-way, the impact of 10, 30, 50 or more is just one employee, what if you have 10 employees, how profound is that impact?

Help me and your colleagues out by trying out this new approach and sharing what you have learned, the insights you have gained, and your challenges in the comments below.

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