Friday, January 04, 2008

I say NOBODY likes criticism!

My non-academic theory is that no one likes criticism - even though we may say we welcome criticism.

The only time in my career I can remember being impressed with criticism of me was when my boss had to tell me I did not get a job I thought I would get.

I felt I had a good interview and I was pretty disappointed if I am honest. I went into my de-brief interview with the Chief Executive not in a good frame of mind. I was in a nutshell pretty angry. I felt I had done really well and I felt I had done enough to get the job.

The CEO asked me how I thought it had gone and after a long discussion I left his office thanking him for the feedback and my anger had gone.

I think he was a master at giving feedback. I had changed from angry man to philosophical man. How did he do that? I honestly don’t know. He just had a gift for feedback!

Actually that is the only time in my entire 35 year career I can honestly say that I appreciated what some would describe as negative feedback. Most of the time when I made mistakes it was either not dealt with well or not dealt with at all – i.e. ignored.

Have you any examples of excellence in giving or receiving criticism?

2 comments:

Nick McCormick said...

Trevor,
I just had someone give me constructive criticism (i.e. negative feedback) the other day. I felt fine about it, and took the advice. I think more importantly than what is said is the trust between you and the criticizer as well as the respect you have for her/him. If you trust the person and believe that s/he is acting in your best interest, and you value his/her opinion, there is a much better chance you'll be receptive to the criticism.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Nick - hope you are keeping well - Happy New Year to you and your family from Annie and I over here!

I think you are right that trust and respect undperpins the criticism issue.

I also believe some bosses have a gift in the way they offer that type of feedback in a way that doesn't 'hurt' the person. And sadly some bosses will never be able to do it effectively!