Note: This is a guest post from Jered Slusher of Mass Influence
Don’t you hate it when people criticize you? I mean, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let myself get annoyed with people who are overly critical.
When somebody harps on you, judges you, condemns you, disapproves of you, rejects you, withdrawals their confidence from you, it can be extremely painful. Not only can criticism eat away at your self confidence, it can cause you to be offended by the criticizer, and put you on the defensive to justify your behavior.
Here are the three main disadvantages of mindlessly criticizing others:
1. Hurts another’s pride
Let me tell you a story about one of my former bosses. This is a totally extreme example to show you how bad criticism can be.
When I first started college, I worked at Taco Bell to pay the bills. The boss over the entire store was known for being one of the most critical and least friendly bosses. He would demoralize us by criticizing our work in totally uncool ways.
For instance, if we weren’t making Tacos fast enough, he would say that his Grandma could move faster than us. If we didn’t know how to do something, he would question our brain cell count. If we had to take a day off work, he would question our loyalty to the team.
The constant hounding really worked on people, and made them feel worthless. The pride in their work slipped, and they felt as if their work didn’t matter.
When people criticize us, it can eat at our pride and confidence in ourselves.
2. Causes resentment
When we feel that someone else is trying to put us down, it causes us to resent that person.
In my year and a half of working at the store the only positive comment I heard about the boss was that he “ran a tight ship, and got results.”
Surely, that was true. The store was the top in the district, and it’s where they sent managers from around the area to get trained.
But at what cost?
Ask anybody that worked for him, and they’ll say that he was one of the meanest, rudest, uncaring, and hurtful individuals that they had ever met. Sometimes he would even be sexist, and tell the women that they were “too slow,” to move over and let a real man do the job the way it was meant to be done.
I mean, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.
Many of the workers were too scared to say anything to his face. But behind his back everyone talked about what a jerk he was, and how much they couldn’t stand working for him. My co-workers and I prayed for the day we could find another job and get out.
The fact is, when other people criticize us, it’s easy to resent them and not have consideration for them. Anyone that attempts to devalue us, deflate us, depress us is going to take us away from what we really want: significance and approval.
3. Puts other on defensive
If we are criticized, and have the will to stand up to the other person, it puts us on the defensive and causes us to justify why we act the way we do.
By all accounts, some of the workers were slow at preparing the food. And, indeed they were purposefully slow because of all the harsh put-downs that the boss had slung their way. So when it came time for him to criticize them again, they would begin to justify why they were so slow:
“If only you’d pay me more, maybe you’d get more work out of me.”
“You’re not moving so fast yourself. Why should I move any faster?”
“You make me this way with all of your comments.”
“What about you? You’ve been sitting in the office all day.”
And so on.
Even though the time to get the food out was becoming horrendously slow, the workers felt they had no other choice but to justify their actions. They were, essentially, defending themselves against being devalued anymore.
As a result, the whole store suffered. The times of getting food out suffered. The quality of the food suffered. The relationships in the store suffered.
The criticism that was so generously dished out served to spin the store into a negative and unrewarding work environment. People stopped caring, and started complaining and criticizing back.
If we’re not careful, other people’s harsh criticisms can cause us to abandon our values and fight back with harsh criticisms of our own. We have to be careful to guard ourselves against becoming just like the unnecessarily critical people.
Your Turn: Have you ever been criticized to the point where you let the other person get under your skin? How did it feel? Are you proud of your reaction? What do you think is the best way to deal with people who are overly critical, and downright hurtful?
Jered Slusher is the founder of Mass Influence Leadership, a community of leaders driven to gain control over their future, lead other people, and achieve massive amounts of success. Get your free “Stocking Your Leadership Super-Powers” e-book at http://www.massinfluence.org/free-book
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