Monday, May 30, 2011

Never criticize anyone in public

Do you remember the last time you were criticized at a meeting with all your colleagues watching the scene? How did you take it? Did you swallow the bitter pill in silence? Or did you shoot back? Whatever was your visible reaction, as an ordinary human being, you would probably have resented it more or less.

Criticizing subordinates in public is a catastrophic mistake some dumb managers do. Not only does it fail to correct whatever is wrong, but it also lowers the morale of the criticized. Further, it`s one of the fool-proof ways to make enemies inside the organization. As the conflicts intensify, the all important concepts of team spirit and co-operation vanish into the thin air. The organization, as a whole, begins to lose in terms of productivity.

So when you notice two of your subordinates engaged forever in a small talk while others are at work, you may be tempted to put your powers and authority on display and give them a good piece of your mind in order to set a good example for others. But, don`t cave in to that temptation! To criticize them in public may be one great way to vent your spleen, but it will (it`s ‘will’ and not ‘may’) cause them to resent your portentous attitude and turn disloyal to you in no time.

So what you should do instead is to summon them-preferably one at a time-into your room and tell them softly how they were supposed to behave inside the office during the work-hours. Don`t just keep telling about their weak points-it`s, of course, ill-advised to point out their other weaknesses on this occasion. Tell them honestly the strong points you appreciate in them. Over-emphasizing their mistakes won`t convince them of their wrongdoing. Deliberate on what you should tell them and how you should tell it. Don`t just succumb your anger. Let them be convinced of their fault.

Remember every one of us-no matter how educated, how cultured and how powerful- is a damned fool at least five minutes a day and that wisdom consists in not exceeding that limit. If we were to record all our follies every day, each of us would have a massive volume of FTD(Fool Things I Do) by the time we reach our sixties, that`s, supposing we see out our fifties.

So make your point clear. But don`t be rude or arrogant. Let them save face. Yes, you should let them save face. That`s precisely why I warn you against faulting anyone in public.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sleep on your Grudges

How did you react the last time one of your superiors swore at you for a delay in the delivery of a project? It`s quite natural if you felt deep resentment towards whether he was right or not. And what did you do? Did you yell at him? Did you send a sharp email justifying your actions and criticizing his diatribe? Or did you kindly explain to him what had happened and told him that you alone was not to blame for the delay.

Maybe, you should have forgotten it then and there. Impossible? Not at all. Nothing remains the same forever. Neither anger nor resentment takes exception to this universal rule. If you had let it rest or slept on your grudge, you`d probably have woke up to a new dawn of understanding. Whether you call it understanding, empathy or emotional intelligence, it`s all the same at the heart.

What we have to understand is there is too much confusion out there in the world. In fact, ours is a planet with over six billion unique individuals with different attitudes, tastes and tempers. We all have our dreams, hopes, fears and frustrations. More relevant to our context, every one of us has our own insecurities. When something or someone poises a threat our interests-maybe it`s more perceived than real- we tend to feel angry about that.This is so because, inherently, people resist change.

So now you can understand while getting rebuked is certainly unpleasant, it is more important to put things in perspective and not to overreact. Most probably, it`s gonna blow over. So, why keep hugging a grudge?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Everybody likes a compliment

Do you feel happy when your superiors praise for your commitment to the job? Are you delighted when your friends admire your newly bought t-shirt? What makes you feel so great when your fiance/fiancee says you look great today? It`s simply because you love to be appreciated. We all love to get appreciation from our spouses to superiors to total strangers when we are aware that it`s honest.

But,just think for a second. Do you appreciate people as often as you criticize them? Are you a tough guy never ready praise those under you? Are you persisting in the belief that praising people will make them feel smug and keep them from achieving better?

It`s high time to shed your stupid pre-conceived beliefs about the adverse effects of appreciation. Praise does works. People love honest compliments. If you honestly appreciate people for what they do-no matter how insignificant it looks to you- it`s one of the easiest way for you to win their trust and loyalty.

If people like you, it`s really easy for you to get things done as a manger. So, the next time you find your office assistant neatly arranging your desk, tell him or her that they are doing a great job and you are happy about it. Don`t just utter it. Say it with a smile. Let them feel you mean it.
If you`re only used to giving them a curt nod, you may find it next to impossible to extoll their virtues. But just do it and see if they won`t do it better next time.

In the earlier post, I told you about the uselessness of criticism. Here, I have briefly talked about its opposite, ie appreciation. Do look forward to more on these on my next post.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Do you love to criticize?

Are you a harsh critic, a cynic or a fault finder? As a manager, it`s essential for you to realize that criticism rarely works. Few people, if any, enjoy getting criticized. Why? Because our nature is not to believe that we are ever in the wrong. This`s why we always seek to justify our faults.

Criticism, as Dale Carnegie argues (and rightly so), is dangerous. It is dangerous, because it hurts our sense of pride. It wounds our self esteem. It insults our wisdom.

So, the next time you want to take your subordinate to the task over the clumsy file he has just handed you, stop right there and ask yourself, 'Do I really have to blame this fellow?' If it`s something you can set right easily, why blame him? Blame, anyway, is not going to fix it. Either your subordinate or you have to set it right, so why take the trouble to criticize?

Wait for my next blog post for more on this highly sensitive topic. Have a good day!

The Art of Diplomacy

Have you heard about Dale Carnegie, the illustrious philosopher who authored the best-seller How to Win Friends and Influence People? In this enlightening book, there are two words he repeatedly stresses. Guess what? Yep, it`s tact and diplomacy. Yes, you`re perfectly right to think they mean the same.

For managers and for would-be managers, the single most important piece of advice I would like to give is ' learn, practise and master the art of tact'. If you are diplomatic, as a manager, it will be pretty easy for you to convince people.

Basically, every one of us wants to feel important. If anyone slights us or makes us feel less important than we are, we inherently tend to dislike that person. What a tactful person does is to make others feel important in every possible way. I`ll explain how this can happen in the next post.