Criticizing without Apologizing

Dear Readers,

Have you  been in this situation? Someone you manage is having difficulty and it’s your task to help them but you still struggle with the task at hand? I think we are told over and over again that in order to criticize someone you necessarily have to be a jerk or to criticize someone is considered jerk behavior. Think about it, if you know someone is not performing to standard and you don’t tell them about it and offer them the chance to improve, who is more at fault, them or you?

A good friend who was teaching our class today (My company is awesome in that they give us time for professional development) reminded us all that conflict isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When handled with diplomacy and tact, it can be an opening to a great conversation and fantastic results.

When I think back to some of the greatest growth I have experienced, it’s usually in direct proportion to the type of feedback I got and what I did after receiving it. 

Toastmasters is an excellent example, when you sign up to speak, you automatically agree to be evaluated or criticized. It’s all in how you frame it really. I have improved dramatically as a speaker because of critique received in a meeting, on slips of paper or conversations after a speech telling me what they liked and didn’t like.

One of the hardest notes I have ever gotten was that “I didn’t GO FOR IT” which

in that context is being truly authentic and vulnerable..(they sensed I was holding back and to be honest they were right) and ever since then I have made it a point that any time I speak, I give a message from the heart (thanks Ryan Avery) and I am 1000 percent me. Sometimes that is hard, but it’s always rewarding.

So the next time you find yourself in a situation where you have to criticize someone try your best to avoid the apology part. Come from a place of “I want to help you improve and I have the tools to help you” and stop there. Listen to what they have to say and work together for the betterment of the situation. What greater gift can you give than your real, authentic self.

Think about it…..

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