I just received this guest post from Jered at Mass Influence the other day and I found it fit nicely with an article I recently posted. In this post, Jered does an incredible job of giving you reasons why it’s important to not criticize others. It’s an insightful read…
So, as you probably know there’s a lot of talk going around about how to deal with critical people. In fact, Steve recently wrote a post on it: 6 Tips for Dealing with Critical People.
So, I thought, with Steve’s permission of course, that we would delve into the realm of why it’s important to criticize other people.
Here’s the truth: The biggest drawback of not giving criticism is that the other person will continue to go down the path they are on, unaware of the mistakes they are making.
Before we discuss that, though, it’s important to know some of the reasons why we criticize.
Option A: The Helpful Criticizer
Oftentimes we criticize because we think we are being genuinely helpful. We want the other person to be their best, so we pass on our “expert” judgments in an effort to provide value.
However, uninvited criticism tends to cause resentment in the criticized, and motivates them to justify their value.
With that being said, some people criticize to make others feel or look worthless.
Option B: The Jerkopotamus
You know what I’m talking about. I bet you know someone who gets a lot of satisfaction by “one-upping” and putting down other people.
In my opinion, this type of criticism is the worst, and unjustifiable. After all, that IS what Hitler and the Nazi party did to the “undesirables” in Germany, right?
Unwanted and/or hate-driven criticism just creates this totally uncool negative vibe. Some people call it brutal honesty, other people call it a necessary evil.
Well I’ve got news for those people: If you really want to lead people, criticizing them in these ways is just not cool.
And here’s the real kicker: Criticizing someone else can be of tremendous value to the other person… IF you do it right.
Introducing Option C: The Fresh Perspective of a Trusted Friend
Okay, so without going all “psychological” and making a total fool of myself, here are the three fundamentals of constructive criticism.
First, we’ve got to be invited to criticize the other person. We need verbal confirmation that it is okay with them to share our perspective. We should respect their right to say “no thanks.” If they don’t want to hear our perspective, then we should keep it to ourselves, or tell the dog. Anyways, the first step is interest and desire. We need their permission to provide our perspective.
Secondly, we’ve got to have a strong bond with the other person. We need to build a bond of trust with the person so that they know we have clear intentions. We should tell the person why we want to give them feedback so that they know our intentions. If we don’t have the bond, and don’t state our intentions clearly and honestly, then we risk having the other person resent us, or justify their behavior. The second step is laying a foundation of trust and clearly stating why we’re giving the feedback.
Thirdly, we’ve got to clearly present our feedback as our own, and make the criticism a discussion. We should always begin the criticism with “The way I see it” or “My perspective is” or “I think” as opposed to making general statements of fact. We should ask questions to get the person to think about the issue, and provide their input. We should apologize if we feel we may have offended the person with the criticism. If they don’t see it our way, we should respect that they have a different viewpoint.
When you have all three of the fundamentals in place, you can give your friends and loved ones a clear, honest perspective that they may otherwise not have had.
Your Turn: I’m interested in learning more about situations where criticism can be a good thing. In what ways can criticism be good for someone, if done correctly?
Steve’s Note: Jered Slusher is the founder of Mass Influence Leadership, a community of leaders driven to gain control over their future, lead other people, and achieve massive amounts of success. Click here to get your free “Stocking Your Leadership Super-Powers” e-book.Take Action. Get Results.