Criticism refers to judging the behavior, actions or inclinations of someone or something in an intelligible manner. It is a common human practice. It has been long established that any activity worth doing will attract criticism. So, since it’s a part of life, criticism should be viewed in a positive light as a trigger for change and improvement.
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In a work environment, employees should offer constructive, well thought out, and intelligent criticism of their bosses and the management. Progressive organisations consider this as a major source of talent and ideas for the greater good of the organisation. Many organisations have established fora for constructive criticism and take serious consideration to such feedback.
From the employee’s perspective, however, criticism should be handled with due care. Irrational and hard-hitting criticism, especially when directed at your boss, can have serious consequences. The intention should be to provide feedback and cause the desired change with as little friction as possible, thereby driving the organisation forward. Criticism is not meant to show that the boss is bad, or prove that you are better. It should also never be used to settle old scores or hit below the belt for selfish ends.
Remember, you were hired to help in the achievement of the organisational corporate goals. You took up the job because you wanted to prove your worth to the organisation, the market and yourself. Hence, whatever criticism you offer should ensure that these objectives are met to avoid counter-productivity.
Before leveling any criticism you should always ask several questions to determine whether it is worth taking the risk or not. Is it likely to hurt your boss? Are you objective in your proposed approach? How is the current relationship with your boss?
Are you sober enough to handle the discussion, as well as the outcome? Are you driven by fear or purpose? What does your career counselor think about it? Is the boss in question new or a veteran in the organisation? Could you be the one having problems with adapting to change? Is the criticism honest, or are you just being negative? How significant is the subject of criticism?
All criticism should be presented as proposals, adjustments or improvements. Avoid criticising in public such as in meetings. Rather talk to your boss in private and let him or her buy into your proposals.
You just have to do it in such a way that it won't sound like an actual critique.
1. Tell The Good News First- Always better to start with the positive information. Don't even ask your boss what they want to hear first. Starting off with the good news, however, will give you a fighting chance due to the principle of primacy. Your boss will more easily remember - and pay more attention to - the things you said first.
2. Never Mention Names- If your boss is the one at fault, you can't identify them as the culprit directly. You might say that there has been a slight miscalculation in the prices; but don't ever say that they're the one who miscalculated (even if it's true). Never embarrass your boss or mention their name, especially when you have company.
3. Focus On The Solution- Finally, if you want to know how to criticize your boss without losing your job, it's best to simply focus on the solution. Putting too much attention on what went wrong will only make them feel like you're playing the blame game (and if you do, then both of you lose). Come up with several solutions to the problem and don't be afraid to ask your boss for help as well. That way, they will feel like they're part of the solution rather than the problem.
Be mature, sober and long sighted, focusing on the end-goal and not just taking pride in the moment.
Be a worker not just a messenger. Once the criticism has been rolled out, take an active role in completing the process. Remember at the end of the day, you have a job and career to take care of.
Source: The Standard
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