Criticism 2

19 Jan

Criticism can’t be avoided and it’s an important part of our lives, and believe it or not, we need it!

Maybe I should stop there for a moment because you may question whether or not you need it.

The answer is, yes, you do need it!

How can that be?

Well, think about it.  If you are unaware of something that you are doing that takes away from your effectiveness, wouldn’t you want someone to point that out?

For example, you are saying too many “uh’s and um’s” during a presentation which turns people off.  Or, you take 15 minutes to say something that could be said in 2 and every time you open your mouth, everyone around you is sighing.  Or the example could be as simple, as your having some food visibly stuck in your teeth and you are about to head into a meeting with a big customer.

While we don’t want to be criticized, we need it!

After all, wouldn’t you want someone to say something to you in the examples illustrated.

While you can’t escape criticism, are certain things some of us do to invite more of our share of criticism?  I refer to these people as “critiholics”.  These are the people that do things to invite criticism.

Take for instance, the person who doesn’t get expectations clarified upfront.  Instead, with the usage of criticism, the expectations become crystal clear- after the fact.  clarify expectations upfront, only after the fact.

Meet Clyde, a sales manager for a food company located in Boston.

He’ll say to his team, “why don’t you come up with a report that shows our activity for the week”. When asked for specifics about the report by team members, he tells them, “you figure it out, you guys are dealing with it all the time, and we just need to know what the activity has been for the week!” Because he’s the boss, everyone on the team meets to create a report to show the sales activity for the week. When presenting the report to Clyde, he quickly comes back and says, “Why didn’t you include the number of hot leads, and those who are no longer interested in sales”.  Everyone on the team looks at each other in a baffled sort of way.  They were wondering why Clyde didn’t tell them this in the first place.  Behind the scenes, Clyde gets a lot of criticism because he operates with unclear expectations.  Clyde may be the type of manager who doesn’t know what he wants, but he sure is clear about what he doesn’t.

The only trouble is that it’s after the fact and it breeds a lot of criticism from those who are trying to work with him.

There are more examples of what people do to invite criticism into their lives!


3 Responses to “Criticism 2”

  1. foresightyourctpsychic January 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    I would actually say that we don’t need criticism so much as we do feedback.

    Feedback tells us both what is off track and what is working well, giving us an accurate picture to make such corrections as are needed while keeping the good things.

    Criticism, on the other hand, only focuses on problems which is not as helpful to help us achieve our best; and is draining besides….


    • drdebbright January 19, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

      Dear Catherine,

      Thank you for sending your comment.

      Your message only begins to highlight the confusion and misunderstanding that revolves around the subject of criticism. When you say that feedback tells us both what is off track and what is working well… that is equivalent to a critique. When you get to the feedback, that tells you what is off track, which is equivalent to the criticism.

      Is it good to only give criticism? If you look at this way, as a boss, it’s valuable to take a moment and look at each of the interactions you’ve had with your people as if they are photographic snap shots. If the only memory that an employee has of the interactions with you are due to criticism, then you can see how it can reach the point where an individual begins to say, “nothing I do is right” or it can start to rattle one’s self confidence. What’s key is that the boss and the employee develop a common understanding of how best to work together. So, the combination of feedback where it’s both positive and negative is valuable so a person doesn’t engage in self criticism.

      Delivering negative feedback or criticism is a skill set. Most of us do it based on how others have communicated with us. The delivery of quality criticism is extremely motivating! Think of coaches with their athletes, or piano teachers, or dance instructors.

      I hope this clarifies.

  2. foresightyourctpsychic January 20, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    Forgive me, but I don’t get the impression that you’re hearing what I’m saying.

    Criticism, by definition, focuses only on the negative aspects of a situation. By doing this, it not only gives a “nothing I do is right” mindset. It also gives an incomplete picture of performance, and thereby limits the amount that a person can improve.

    To do their best, a person does indeed need to know what’s not working in a situation or action, so they can decrease or stop it. They also need to know what is working, so they can aim towards doing that as much as possible.

    This is where criticism falls down. By giving an incomplete picture, it limits how much a person can improve.

    Feedback, on the other hand, by giving both positive and negative aspects of the situation or action, gives the information needed to improve as much as is possible.

    Criticism also tends to be dempralizing, which can sap a person’s energy to embrace change. I have rarely met anyone who found true criticism motivating, and the ones I have have mainly been motivated by the desire to show their critics that they were wrong. Not the optimal method for motivation for change…

    My experence has been that the most effective suprevisors and leaders were those who abandoned criticism, and embraced feedback….


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