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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Successful Motivational Criticism

The purpose of criticism is not to destroy the confidence, self-image and self-belief of the other person. It is to build on in the future.
People who have a responsibility to supervise have a great number of things they have to control. Not the least of these is their own personal feelings towards their subordinates.Managers and supervisors are, of course, human, and they do have their own likes and dislikes just like everyone else.
An effective and motivated manager, will however, make sure that their feelings about their subordinates do not show. It is quite obvious that performance will suffer if an employee should feel that their immediate boss doesn’t like them, treat them unjustly or favours somebody else.
From time to time it is necessary to get a person back on the rails or criticize them in order to get the performance and the results that you deserve. Perhaps the most unpleasant of all the jobs that a manager ever has to do is to fire a person. But in order to develop people, it is occasionally necessary for a manager to criticize an employee.
Why Criticize? Why a manager should criticize an employee? It should not be related to a personal like or dislike. It should primarily be because of a feeling of concern. In addition, it is a manger’s duty to guide his employees not only towards performance that keeps them in their job, but performance that helps them to achieve their goals, and of course, maintains the team spirit.
The purpose of the criticism is not and should never be to destroy, but to build. In order to achieve this, ask yourself these questions: ‘What exactly do I want to put right?’ and ‘What exactly is the desired reaction at the end of the meeting or interview?’ In other words, ‘What is my goal, my purpose or end result?’
The points that the manager should discuss must be constructive and not destructive. It takes very little brains to find fault. It takes a lot more brains to find a better way of doing something. Not it’s all very well if the manager knows what he wants to communicate, but he is communicating with another person, and that person also has the wonderful asset of the human brain. Therefore, in order to get the message across, you have to make sure that you haven’t got a closed mind when communicating.
At the commencement of the meeting, you must open up the other person’s mind so that it becomes receptive to you. The person must be able to listen, take in, discuss and then react to the message that you are giving. In many cases, a manager is forced into criticizing an employee because of actions that have been immensely irritating. Sometimes an employee acts irresponsibly and, even worse, with the intention of breaking some rule or acceptance work practice.
Some managers lose their temper and react immediately. In a state of fury, they criticize the subordinate. Don’t do it — it does occasionally work, but it invariably destroys relationships, and eill cause a dramatic loss of respect. Other managers, perhaps out of frustration or lack of guts, have great difficulty in talking to the individual who is causing the problems, so they end up instead telling almost everybody else. This, of course, is an unfair management style.
To criticise without demotivating, you must:
  • Pick your time carefully
  • Discuss the matter in private
  • Let the person know you value them
  • Look them in the eyes
  • Be strictly truthful
  • Criticize behaviour, not the person
  • Reaffirm the person’s good points
  • Set a review date
Remember to praise improvement!

Insincere praise is worse than no praise at all.
The Problems of Dismissal
The motivated manager will unfortunately, from time to time, have to dismiss an employee. Once that decision has been taken, it should not be delayed. In most cases, to preserve the team the departure should happen as speedily as possible. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule in which people can work out a period of notice. In most cases, this is extremely dangerous and will be demotivational to the remainder of the team. It is therefore better for everybody concerned that, when that decision has been taken, the person concerned leaves the company immediately.
Any manager obviously hates having to tell an employee that their services are no longer required. Nevertheless, it is one of the burdens and responsibilities for which managers are duly rewarded.
When firing another individual, the manager should never destroy them. A manager should never set out to break down their self-image, confidence or self-belief. If the decision to dismiss has been taken, it is right to give justifiable, fair and logical reasons, so you have to communicate the truth. In some cases, however, you do not have to tell the whole truth.
If the individual does get angry or uptight, it really doesn’t matter to the manager. Far better that that person goes out feeling angry, but with their attitude, beliefs and confidence intact so that they can go on to get another job, than be too demotivated even to go after one.

Sir John Harvey Jones, widely acclaimed as one of the great management gurus in the UK, states: You sometimes have to fire people. The most important thing is that you are not entitled to damage their self-esteem. It is quite difficult to avoid doing that but you have to bear in mind you are not entitled to wreck a man’s life for your business purpose.

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