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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In Project Management, Criticism is Inevitable - Rewind

Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing. Aristotle, Greek philosopher and scientist

Many of you probably know that every now and then I can be critical of a situation or type of person. Evidence of this fact can be seen in last week's posting or others regarding teams, executive apathy, etc. One thing we can all learn about criticism from others - "if you expect criticism, you will seldom be disappointed when you receive it" - Author unknown.

We know that not all criticism is constructive. Many types of criticism are destructive and that is what I want to talk about. Destructive criticism is something you receive that offers virtually no value, and comes from people that don't have your best interests at heart. Sometimes the criticism may have some merit, however when speaking about destructive criticism, the presentation wasn't communicated effectively or was only meant to do harm.

Remember, criticism is just an opinion, but if offered constructively it may be valid and helpful.

Keep an open mind when being criticized. Don't let the criticism control you or change what you think about yourself. Ask yourself, can I learn anything from the criticism? Can I change anything? Should I change?

I don't take criticism well, and I tend to discount those people around me that criticize others too much. I need to take my own advice and learn to be more accepting of criticism, especially when it is constructive.

Some rules we should follow regarding criticism:

Never criticize another behind their back. Keep in mind what Stephen Covey says and have "respect for the absent".

If there is nothing to be learned when you are criticized it is best to ignore it and move on with your life.

Responding to criticism that has no value will only reduce you to the level of the person doing the criticizing.

Don't let deceivers deceive YOU!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Something which always helped me to deliver negative feedback and to receive criticism was a good relationship with a person on the other side. In both situations when you consider the other guy as someone more than just a colleague you most likely:
- won't deliver destructive criticism
- won't receive destructive criticism
- think twice before criticize the guy
- allow a discussion about the subject which is usually healthy

After all I'm not very good at playing a cold-hearted asshole so it's easier for me to go through the process the other way.