Praise in public, praise in private

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.


36 thoughts on “Praise in public, praise in private

  1. It takes a lot of effort to face the kind of criticism we come across.
    IT has got some mean managers who make you feel bad.

    But eventually when you don’t give up and go ahead, you will make it big.

    Good to know you are giving back and I call this a LEGACY !
    When one man did something special to someone and then the next person did the same. As much as bad experiences and vibes, spread in this world, good things too. They don’t get highlighted much often nor they are spoken of but good does spread. Eg. You

    Wonderful Post.

    I have 2 posts, when you get some time pls share your views

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t worry about IT…I shall spend rest of my life educating the inept managers in IT. Having worked closely with a toxic client, I understand the problem in depth.
      Watch out for my upcoming post ‘Bad bosses and impact on the economy’

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am always watching out for your posts and enjoy reading them. I am on the same mission to make a difference. We speak more we speak stronger. One day it will all count, when a lot of people will think like that.

        Well it’s not just with IT though, I think a part of deal with being Manager comes up to test your nature/character, which most of them fail to, only to feel that they have the edge to exploit, which mustn’t be.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sudhir… I think constructive criticism is important from our near and dear ones…who care for us because otherwise we will not see our flaws that need to be corrected. I believe in Kabir’ s doha to some extent –
    Nindak niyare rakhiye aangan kuti chhawaye;
    Bin sabun pani bina nirmal karat subhaye.
    However, I do not care for criticism from malicious outsiders. I know they cause immense damage. Very nice post😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I differ here. Whoever gives constructive criticism is trying to make you their clone. Because we are all different, we are capable to learn on our own and even be better than the criticizer. People learn to be thick skinned at a later stage but at a younger age you only need nurturing and positive reinforcement.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. May be this is right for you. As for me, I feel sometimes a constructive criticism from someone close enables me to retrospect and see things in a different light. I am not good at taking criticism but it certainly gets me thinking. And I would like to be criticised to see something that I had not been seeing😀😀😀.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Also depends on how it is communicated to you.
        It would sound and feel better if someone told you ‘Shivangi..What do you think if you did it this way ?’
        instead of ‘Who asked you to do this ?’

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Wow…I guess positive reinforcement is always better but again, there are people who love you but they are harsh… We have to make adjustments for them. Don’t you think so?


      4. That is what we have been doing. Adjustments. To be honest, I learnt after I started researching on parenting after Aadarsh was born. I never knew about the importance of words on a child’s mind.
        In our times, parents did not have access to such material, so it is understood. But now we can change.
        It helps in conversation between 2 adults too.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post! I can’t believe how much I needed to read these words today. I immediately felt small. I have 2 teenagers how I criticize often and after I do it, every fiber in my being knows it’s wrong. I am going to really focus on pointing out anything and everything that is good. Thank you for this little reminder that makes such an enormous difference!


  4. Wonderful post and great reminders of how to treat others, particularly our kids who are so impressionable and take things so much to heart. Positive reinforcement is so much more beneficial in raising well adjusted kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are spot on with this topic. I have people in my life who are only critical. I began to see that their criticizing stems from their own insecurities. Building people up is a much more positive way to live. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know Melissa. I worked in a toxic workplace where people couldn’t speak anything positive. It destroyed my morale, confidence and I suffered from PTSD. I tolerated them only to support my family and it was hard during recession.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with everything you covered in this article. We are more apt to crticize others than to praise them for a job well done. I see it at work almost daily from supervisors who think they know what they are doing. It crushes the human soul. Thank you for reminding us to give praise and encouragement.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Really good post Sudhir ….totally agree ….feel that managers tend to bully due to being out of their depth and not really knowing HOW to manage:)…….hmmmm then again you just get out and out bullies sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds interesting Sudhir ……a boss I had recently was a bully ….I gave a lot of thought to what he was doing ….I almost went under …fortunately the team I work with are great so that kind of balanced things …..he’s gone now BUT have thought carefully about what he was doing and you know what? ……at the end of the day feel if someone ‘difficult’ enters your life ….the lesson might just be that they are someone you would NOT want to be ….they must have their OWN issues ….plus being a little wary …when dealing with people it can be like a jungle out there:D:D:D
        It would be interesting to turn it on its head too ….yes it’s an interesting topic and a situation VERY difficult to deal with ….but HOW can it be dealt with? …..whistle blowing can backfire as bullies tend to single folk out and manipulate in an extremely underhand way that is difficult to prove …..what are the skills and attributes that make a GOOD boss……Hmmmmm food for thought.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I shall share in my article, the reasons behind why they are bullies..they are well supported by top. It’s a global problem…and I wish to fight for workplace safety for everyone for the rest of my life..
        Having suffered from PTSD, I know how hard it is to bounce back in life.


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