Criticize BEHAVIOR

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When you attack


a person’s self,


there can be no resolve.



One of life’s hardest lessons for every business owner and every manager is to always criticize behavior, never the person at fault.                                                        

“I don’t like the way you handled that customer and here’s what I suggest . . .” is a lot more productive and easier to swallow than “You moron! Why did you send that customer to our competitor? I can’t believe you’re so stupid!”


The assumption here of course is that because you and/or your business is invested in every employee, it’s important to help keep those investments on track and growing.

Step ONE is to nurture and protect and ensure the individual human being that lives inside the employee facade or uniform. You will never achieve these ends when you are critical of the person.

It is indeed true that this process is not necessarily an easy one, particularly when you may be dealing with a hostile, or relatively incompetent individual, or someone who has just committed a colossal screw-up.

But keep reminding yourself that your behavior –as well as the one you criticize– are both the result of a conscious or unconscious choice.


You can, in other words, choose to make the situation a difficult, stressful and nonproductive one

. . . or choose for the approach and the outcome to produce a win-win for both parties 


But –again– if the employment investment is worth protecting, then you need to bite the bullet, take some deep breaths, and accept that your role must be as a calming influence, a patient and understanding teacher. Hand-holder? No! Warm, fuzzy pardoner? No! But not confrontational either.

Taking the middle road need not be a torturous trek. And, in fact, it can be a learning experience for both you and the person whose behavior you need to address. 

Look at the prospects of confronting some unwanted behavior as the unique opportunity it is to help a valued employee become more valuable and to notch off another credit level on your human relations resume.

Ask not WHY something occurred. Instead, focus the person involved with improving her or his process. Deal with WHAT can be done and keep it specific, and hand the problem-solving back to the problem-creator.

“What three things can you write down for me on  a piece of paper before you go to lunch that you think will be the best steps you can take to avoid this kind of behavior in the future?  


Oh, and keep the ALWAYS RULE in your back pocket: ALWAYS praise worthy employee behavior in public, and ALWAYS criticize unwanted or unworthy employee behavior in private.

Go to great lengths to insure this ALWAYS RULE and you will quickly gain or enhance the kind of reputation that will increase sales and business growth (yes, even in a bad economy!)


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Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.
 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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One Comment to “Criticize BEHAVIOR”

  1. […] changes in process carefully and specifically – Criticize behavior or method or technique, NOT THE PERSON – Criticize in private and praise in […]

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