Stated Simply 

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Criticize to hold people in place. Encourage to help them grow.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Proof of the above is left to you to compare with your own experience.

PPS: There’s a huge difference between criticizing and noting something that’s not up to par. The former always generates further dysfunction. The latter is necessary and opens the door to better performance and satisfaction.

 

Today’s photo credit: ShinyPhotoScotland Dusk on Loch Tay via photopin (license)

Choose to Encourage

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Encouragement works far better than criticism or, said euphemistically, “feedback.” Criticism causes resistance. Encouragement opens. It is the wiser, more capable part of us reminding them of their wiser, more capable part of themselves.

Try it and watch them shine.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Door Number 2

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Even if we do it behind their backs, people can tell when we have judged, criticized, or found fault in them. They will inevitably react. They may leave or stay. They may get aggressive or, most likely, they will passively and even unwittingly undermine all the good work.

Even if we do it behind their backs, people can tell when we have defended, praised, or believed in them. They will inevitably react. Most likely, they will–even unwittingly–find new ways to solve problems, collaborate, help clients, and make money.

So, will it be door number two, then, kind Leader?

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Julie Kertesz cc

critic

Caring Critique

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We can’t control how people will take criticism or feedback. Any prescription for how we do it (directly, indirectly, gently, or abruptly) might work.

If we want our feedback to be heard and acted upon, though, there is one thing we can do. We can quietly affirm to ourselves our respect for and belief in the other person before we give our criticism. They will feel our caring intent and hear the critique. We will be shocked when they respond better than we otherwise might have hoped.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: catd_mitchell cc

turn the camera

Naysayers

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Whom shall we listen, react, and respond to more? Is it the naysayers who–rightly or wrongly–criticize us and our project(s)? Or is it the people who most need the help that we and our project(s) have to offer?

Right. Let’s focus on the people whose businesses and lives are made better by our work.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: What if we are our own biggest naysayer? Same deal: as focus on the people we help, all the criticism magically fades away.

 

Today’s photo credit: Go_OffStation cc

The Problem Goes on the Table

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Success, We=All Who Matter, Will=Our inner game
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In the prior post we saw how criticism–focusing on incompetence–wastes the time, energy, and effort of the critic, the person being criticized, and the observers. This massive avoidable waste consumes people and kills organizations.

While criticism (verbalized or not) is not a winning strategy, neither are pulling punches, avoiding problems, letting things be. When problems arise, you must handle them.

How? Start by separating the problem from the person. Then ask for their help.

  1. Separate problem from person. Imagine we are in a meeting room with a table. If we focus on criticizing and they focus on defending, it is as if the table is a battle line with us on one side and they on the other side. The “problem” is inside the other person. When we separate the problem from the person, we metaphorically stand next to them at the table. We place the problem on the table in front of both of us. Separating the problem from the person means making an internal shift. We commit not to attack the other person with our thoughts, words, or actions. You can’t fake this. They will know it even if we just think our criticism.
  2. Ask for help. Once you have the problem in front of you both, ask for their help solving it.

If you’ve never tried this before, you will be amazed at how well it works. If it doesn’t work, keep trying. You may not have completely released your criticism, disappointment, or anger yet. Or they may be so used to defending that they need you to make a few overtures.

For tomorrow: Many of you commented to me how all this is easier said than done. Agreed. Criticism–focusing on what’s wrong–is a nasty habit we all have inherited. We’ll look at 3 ways to replace that habit with a stronger one.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Massive Avoidable Waste

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Success, We=All Who Matter, Will=Our inner game
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We waste massively when we focus on incompetence: mine, yours, or another’s.

Maybe you think your boss is a jerk, your business partner is cutthroat, or your employee is lazy. Perhaps you say your colleague can’t cut it, your spouse doesn’t understand, or your kids are hooligans. Have you complained about any public figures–government leaders or media stars–lately? Or do you think that you yourself are somehow lacking? It matters very little whether your assessments are accurate or your facts prove anything. The longer you focus on what’s wrong with anyone, the longer you’ll wait for the success you desire.

Focusing on incompetence–criticizing–feels bad to and limits the effectiveness of everyone involved.

  • The critic spends energy trying to get the person being criticized–and often others–to see and do it his or her way. This approach may work in the short term and that sadly encourages more of it.
  • It will always fail in the long term because the person being criticized will divert energy to defend against the critic’s onslaught. (Yes, this is true even if you are criticizing yourself.)
  • And observers are distracted by the sideshow.

With criticism in play, everyone’s time and mental clarity are limited and unavailable to collaborate on new solutions, create something of value, or delight clients. Show me a failing organization and I’ll show you a den of critics. (It ain’t the economy, competition, or strategy folks.) Show me someone who criticizes her or himself, and I’ll show you someone who is stuck.

Of course, we can avoid this waste. The answer is not to pull your punches and allow less-than-desired situations to persist. Far from it. The answer, explored in the next post, is to separate the problem from the people.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

PS: Exercise: In preparation, see if you can catch yourself judging or criticizing someone (including yourself) today. Watch especially for unspoken–only thought–criticisms.

Double-Dog Dare You NOT to Fight, Complain, Criticize

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Career, Do=Natural flow of action, Good: Your Good Work, Leading, Organizations, Strategy, Success, We=All Who Matter, Will=Our inner game
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Do not fight, criticize, or complain about anyone or anything. Doing so has a very odd way of cementing into your business, career, and life whatever it is that you do not like.

And I do not recommend that you just accept whatever you do not like.

Instead, get cleverer. Decide what you would rather see. Then build that.

To your continued success,

Mike