Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Self-affirmations boost confidence and performance

If you get terrified every time you are called in for a performance review, focus on your strengths, write down your best job skills or at least think about them in order to negotiate better with your boss, says a new study.

When the stakes are high, people in positions of low power may perform better by using self-affirmations to boost their confidence, the findings showed. "You should reflect on things that you know are good about yourself," said lead researcher Sonia Kang, assistant professor of organizational behavior and human resource management at University of Toronto. 
The findings suggest that writing or thinking about one's family or other positive traits that are not associated with the high-stakes situation also may boost confidence and performance.
The researchers conducted three experiments to measure performance in pressure-filled situations. When participants were in a position of high power, they tended to perform better under pressure, while those with less power performed worse.
Self-affirmations, however, helped to level the playing field and effectively reduced the power differences. In one of the experiments, 88 MBA students were paired together as the buyer or seller of a biotechnology plant. All participants were told the exercise would gauge their negotiating skills to raise the stakes.

Before the negotiation, half of the participants wrote for five minutes about their most important negotiating skill, while the remaining half wrote about their least important negotiating skill. Buyers who completed the positive self-affirmation performed significantly better in negotiating a lower sale price for the biotechnology plant, effectively reducing the power differences between the buyer and seller.