3215 reads

Lucy, who constantly criticizes Charlie Brown in the comic strip “Peanuts,” is one of my favorite characters because she always says exactly what is on her mind.

Peeved at Charlie,she once told him, “You are a foul ball in the line drive of life.”

She is just as tough on her little brother Linus, who always has his security blanket clutched in one hand and his thumb resting safely in his mouth. 

“Why are you always criticizing me?” Linus asks Lucy.
“Because I just think I have a knack for seeing other people’s faults,” Lucy says.
“What about your own faults,” replies Linus?
Without hesitation, Lucy answers right back, “I have a knack for overloing them.”
Criticism, even when offered as a helpful suggestion, is often unwelcome.It’s hard to accept that your efforts are unappreciated or fail to meet expectations.
One of my favorite sayings is, “No one ever kicks a dead dog,” which means you have to be doing something to get criticized.My point is not to take criticism personally.When a coach or a friend or a boss is criticizing you, that usually means they really care, and even though it may not feel like it, they want to help you.
Greek philosopher Aristotle said:  “Criticism is something you can avoid easily – by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.”
Obviously that isn’t an option for anyone who wants to be successful in business or as a leader.  Good leaders are active, and their actions frequently put them out front.Of course that often
draws criticism.
Even when it is meant to be constructive, criticism is sometimes difficult to deliver effectively.  When you have to correct a mistake or improve an employee’s performance, it is critical to get your message across without creating bigger problems.
Before you offer any criticism, think about what results or changes you need.Telling an employee, “You were totally ineffective,” may be accurate, but it doesn’t tell the employee what your
expectations are.Your goal is to correct the problem, so think through what the employee needs to do differently.
Employees need to know exactly what they did wrong in order to improve.Explain the problem in precise terms:“You didn’t bring the right equipment, which meant you to longer than necessary to
complete the work.”
Point out mistakes and problems, but don’t dwell on them too long.Then start talking about how the employee can improve.
When an employee’s performance improves, make a point of recognizing it.Reinforcing improvement will reduce the need for you to revisit the problem.
Ted Engstrom tells the story about a group of bright young men at the University of Wisconsin, who were blessed with remarkable literary talent:aspiring poets, novelists and essayists.They met regularly to read and critique each other’s work, which became progressively more contentious.So merciless were their criticisms that the members of this exclusive club called themselves the “Stranglers.”
The women of literary talent in the university started a club of their own, which they christened the “Wranglers.”  They also shared their work with each other, but the criticism was softer and more positive, even encouraging.
Twenty years later, an alumnus of the university did a study of the successes of the Stranglers as opposed to the Wranglers.None of the Stranglers could claim any significant literary accomplishment.The Wranglers boasted six or more successful writers including Marjorie
Kinnan Rawlings, who wrote “The Yearling.”
The talent and education levels were comparable, so why the difference?As Ted concluded, the Stranglers strangled, while the Wranglers highlighted the best, not the worst.
Successful leaders know better than to strangle, because they understand that results reflect their management skills.Constantly belittling or blaming means that either the employee isn’t a good fit, or that the criticism isn’t being delivered effectively.
Instead, good leaders follow the example of the Wranglers.Positive results start with a positive environment in which employees know that they will be treated with respect even when they make mistakes.
Consider the advice from the late Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay cosmetics: “Never giving criticism without praise is a strict rule for me.No matter what you are criticizing, you must find something good to say – both before and after Criticize the act, not the person.”
_MACKAY’S MORAL:  __Constructive criticism should always build up,not tear down._
To your success,
Harvey Mackay


misner's picture

Dude, Where are my Wheels? Why Networking Helps – Even in the “Hood”

I recently visited Los Angeles and drove through an area that I grew up around.  I was regaling my wife with a story about a job I had in a pretty tough neighborhood when I was in college.  At the end of the story she said, “you have to
Harvey Mackay's picture

Resourcefulness = “Of Coursefulness”

A firm needed a researcher. Applicants were a scientist, an engineer and an economist. Each was given a stone, a piece of string and a stopwatch and told to determine a certain building’s height. The scientist went to the rooftop, tied the stone to
johnsullivan's picture

Sourcing Is the New Recruiting

I have some excellent news for you. Sourcing is the place to be in talent acquisition today! Recruiting as it has traditionally been known is going away. Increasingly companies are adopting recruitment process automation, and that means that there
harvardbusinessreview's picture

How to Prepare for a Panel

Make sure to connect with the moderator beforehand.
johnsullivan's picture

HR Roundtable: The Value of a Multi-Generational Workforce

In the classic rock anthem My Generation by The Who, lead singer Roger Daltrey screams, “I hope I die before I get old.” He echoed a sentiment of the times, but he never knew that he was also doing what...
adamgrant's picture

Why Women Volunteer for Tasks That Don’t Lead to Promotions

Here’s a work scenario many of us know too well: You are in a meeting and your manager brings up a project that needs to be assigned. It’s not particularly challenging work, but it’s time-consuming, unlikely to drive revenue, and probably won’t be
johnsullivan's picture

How Personas Change Sourcing Outcomes

It’s really intimidating to walk into a room full of people you don’t know. We’ve all had that moment of panic, scanning the room for any semi-familiar face and praying it’ll work. Just one person. I personally hate that feeling....
misner's picture

Body Language When Networking

Body language can be a powerful attractant or deterrent when it comes to building relationships with others. People assess you visually within the first fewminutes of meeting you.  I’ve been asked a lot about body language by the media over the
adamgrant's picture

This 4-Day Work Week Experiment Went So Well, the Company is Keeping It

A first-of-its-kind four-day work week experiment in New Zealand has come to an end after two months, but the trial went so well the company actually wants to make the changes permanent.While lots of research has shown the numerous benefits a