It is often said that one must praise in public but criticize only in private.
I question ‘Why criticize at all ?’. What do we gain from criticizing people except for an ego boost and a ruined relationship ?
I also ask people what good is their command over the spoken and written language if they did not learn to praise or encourage others that could change their life.
We shower heaps of praise to those who succeed in their chosen field – be it sports, movies, writing, business or anything else.
However, when people don’t achieve success, we rip them apart with loads of criticism
Criticizing others is now deep rooted in our DNA, whether intentionally or not and I was no exception in my younger years. It took me few years of soul searching to get out of this bad habit completely out of my routine and embrace the art of praise and encouragement.
I believe the world has too many critics and only few talented people. It is a bigger challenge to encourage and nurture potential talent. I am up for this challenge.
Why do people criticize others ?
My observation about these compulsive critic is that they believe they have the right to do so. Most times it is uncalled for and is only to make themselves feel good.
So, you have movie critics, who make a living from criticizing others, who could barely hold a video camera, but a very good at ripping apart a movie that is made by a highly competent creative team.
Like everyone else, I used to criticize a bad movie too, because everyone else did it, until I happened to witness a shooting of a movie and the hard work people behind the scene put in just for that one perfect shot.
Positive reinforcement works for kids….Criticism never !!!
You often meet people who are low in confidence, have a self-doubt and afraid to stand up for themselves because they believe the critic is right, is actually the result of the damage done by critics, that include parents, friends etc. in their early days of childhood.
Some parents who expect their toddlers to be perfect and expect them to behave just like their neighbors’s kid often criticize them hoping they will be like them. Parents do not realize that those words of criticism does a lot of damage to the tender souls.
With positive reinforcement, kids can be encouraged by just clapping or just simply saying ‘WOW… I loved the way you kept the toys in one place’ or something like ‘I loved that you shared your toys with Sam.’. This can do wonders to the child and will ensure they repeat good behavior.
Parents often make assumption that kids understand the language they speak while trying to discipline them. Kids only see their parent’s facial expression. If the parent has a smile on their face and say ‘wow’ when their child did something good, they attempt to repeat whatever act brought a smile on their parent’s face.
Public evaluation in Idol shows to select top singers…
I wonder how many talented singers who got voted out of the competition gave up singing for the rest of their life. Being criticized for their shortcomings by a panel of judges and watched by a national audience is a perfect example how to destroy a potential talent’s confidence and career.
I understand singing is hard and t is very competitive and you got to be really good at it. However, unlike national sports team, music has plenty of opportunities available and potential singers can do well if they worked hard.
All these singers need is praise and encouragement from a mentor to never give up on their singing talent.
The myth about constructive criticism
In the corporate world, employees are periodically evaluated on their performance and they are given some positive along with constructive criticism. Criticism is offered in the hope that performance can be improved.
Nothing can be further from the truth. Constructive criticism always created a doubt in an individual’s mind. One must understand that when an individual’s worth is questioned, that individual is never going to improve performance.
You can’t consume sugar coated poison and then hope to live longer.
Performance does not improve just by one feedback session.
An individual performs at his/her best only when s/he has the right environment and support to succeed from everyone around them.
Few words of praise is more likely to motivate an employee to deliver their best.
From my own experience in the corporate world.
Way back in the 90’s, when I just started working in the I.T. industry, I worked for a manager who publicly criticized me for even minor mistakes. When I look back, I guess he derived some sadistic pleasure in belittling me just to show his superiority.
I had a low self esteem because of this bully manager and I had almost contemplated quitting my I.T. career. I am glad I didn’t
Luckily, the V.P. of the same company heard positive reviews from my client. All that he said to me was ‘I got tremendous potential and he wanted to assign me to work for a telecoms client in the United Kingdom’. I never looked back since then, as 9 years later I quit a successful career in I.T. having project managed several multi million projects for telecoms and retail businesses in the U.K.
I remain forever indebted to this V.P. for that one statement of praise that changed my life.
I feel now it’s my turn to do the same to others. I always believed kind words has lot of power and everyone deserves praise.