Over the years, I have held down a good number of jobs in a handful of industries. Everyone has their own way of finding themselves and finding what path they wish themselves to travel — mine was trying out as many different fields as I could before deciding on which I’d like to devote my time and energy to. Working in restaurants and bars in every position imaginable, working 9 to 5s, teaching and coaching, working on startups and even getting my hands into companies abroad taught me lessons that I wouldn’t trade anything for.
When you have worked for as many different people as I have and have managed as many different people as I have, you begin to develop your own way of doing things and begin to formulate what you yourself believe to be the right way to run a business and the most effective way to work with others. What I have found to be one of — if not the — most crucial aspect of any manager-employee relationship as well as any employee-employee relationship is criticism.
Criticism is a useful tool in any relationship — no matter whether it is business-related or otherwise. Although many frown upon criticism and the critics who deliver it, criticism is necessary for building a successful relationship. A relationship is the connection, or lack of, between two people.
No matter what the dynamic of the relationship, if two people work together for a unified goal then criticism is the only way to keep the relationship healthy, efficient, on task and successful. I believe that any two people can form a respectful working relationship as long as both parties are open to criticism and are open to giving way to the wishes of the other — assuming they are reasonable and well intended, of course.
Proper criticism is a way of giving feedback to a person with the intention of leaving them better off for it. Having worked with many different companies, it is no surprise that a good number of them were poorly run. Unless you yourself are the owner of the company, you will always have someone above you managing you. Even if you yourself are the manager, the owner of the company will in a way be your ‘manager.’
There will be some sort of line of communication between the two of you and some sort of working relationship. What I have found to be most frustrating is when a manager would not give any feedback to his employees. I am the kind of person who is always working to improve myself and my skills — as I am sure many of you are, seeing as how you are readers of Elite Daily. Not to have my performance reviewed on a regular basis would be frustrating and disappointing.
Sure, there are those employees who could not care less whether they were reviewed by their bosses and either praised or criticized, but these are employees that you do not want to have in your company. If an employee does not care about how you view their performance, then they don’t care about their job or your company. Running a company will keep you very busy, but you are never too busy to communicate with your employees and criticize their working habits and their work itself. Your employees are your company.
The work they do are the products that you provide to consumers; they are your greatest assets and ought to be respected by being given acknowledgment of their work. When a manager takes the time to criticize your work then you know that she took the time to inspect the actual product and respects you enough to give you her honest opinion.
Too many people see criticism as something negative. Sure, the actual content of criticism carries a negative connotation, but the purpose of criticism is not to insult but to improve, to better. What most people don’t like is being told that they are doing something wrong, that their work is not good enough. This is why the delivery of criticism is so important.
There are proper ways of criticizing and then there are the wrong ways. When criticizing your employee or a coworker, make sure to avoid saying that they are doing something wrong or that their work is insufficient. Instead, tell them that you believe that they could improve. Tell them that while their work is not half bad, that you know that they could produce something of even higher caliber. Criticize by simultaneously reinforcing their egos.
People do not like criticism because it hurts their egos. Having your ego hurt by criticism will lead to the fear of criticism. If you are using criticism in order to insult or hurt your employees, then you can be sure that the future work that they produce will only be “good enough.”
By instilling fear of criticism in them, they will do whatever they can to stay under the radar, avoiding the proposal of any sorts of innovations or going out of their way to do something different. If you criticize them while implementing positive reinforcement, on the other hand, then you are both teaching your employees the importance of criticism and motivating them to do better.
Criticism allows for people to be honest with each other while simultaneously working toward improvement. Even in a sexual relationship, criticism is of great use. People have their own ways of doing things and their own likes and dislikes. If you care about a person, and you respect them and wish to continue a relationship with them, then positive criticism is the only way to go.
If your girlfriend doesn’t like some of your habits or some of those tricks that you thought made you talented in bed, then wouldn’t you rather know? In order to make sacrifices in a relationship — which we all do — we must know what the other wants us to sacrifice. And more importantly, we must decide whether or not these sacrifices are something that we are willing to sacrifice. Criticism is constructive communication within a business setting and without. Without feedback, there is no growth.