After a Failure, Shame Is Harmful, Guilt Is Productive

Which of these 2 common affective responses to failure was your most salient feeling after your last on-the-job misstep: shame or guilt? If shame, your company is mismanaging employees’ emotional responses to bad outcomes; if guilt, it’s doing the right thing, suggest Vanessa K. Bohns of the University of Waterloo in Canada and Francis J. Flynn of Stanford. By taking such actions as giving you specific feedback and emphasizing the widespread impact of your failures, your boss can minimize shame and maximize guilt, turning you away from despair and disengagement and instilling in you a desire for outward-focused action to redress the source of your guilty feelings.


This entry was posted in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.