Don’t Criticize Me, Coach Me


Have you ever noticed how criticism plays havoc with your hearing and also scrambles your brain? Words are suddenly hard to decipher and the brain is instantly drawing up defensive plays to counter act the criticism. It becomes almost impossible to achieve a workable solution when one party is on the offense while the other is strategizing defense. When mutual communication breaks down so abruptly, there are no winners especially in a professional environment with fellow employees.

No one intends to fail at a job, and it’s a lousy feeling when it happens, but it is also the perfect coachable scenario. When an assignment goes south there can be many contributing factors – – poor instructions, insufficient skills, no supervision, unclear goals, or stressful conditions. Failure in the work place is often a shared experience so if you are passing the buck ask yourself several questions –  – What part did I play in this failure. Did the employee have the appropriate skills to successfully complete the assignment?  And finally, How much time am I going to spend wallowing in the reprimand when I could be moving forward with a solution?

Criticism has the power to permanently damage an employee relationship because it can open wounds that have nothing to do with the situation at hand. When criticism unleashes unforeseen emotions it can hurts feelings, repress creativity, stir anger, fuel insecurity, and often makes us hang our heads in embarrassment. Employees may be thinking . . . Don’t tell me what I can’t do, teach me how to improve, and then coach me towards a successful outcome.

Bill Gates expounds that everyone needs a coach, and that ongoing feedback is the vehicle to a brighter future. This concept rings true with managing employees so rather than demoralizing employees with criticism, set up a game plan so it doesn’t happen again. Remind your managers that anyone can criticize employees; it is their responsibility to clearly outline work and behavioral expectations with goals, required skills, timelines, and frequent feedback sessions.

I believe that feedback sessions with your employees are the single most important tools for their growth and development. The atmosphere must inspire honest communication without fears of recrimination, otherwise, why do it. Employees have to feel empowered to talk about what’s working and not working with their assignments. The end result should be a more efficient, productive, and fulfilled workforce which will definitely impact the bottom line.

At Cash Flow Solutions, our All-Star payments team is a product of ongoing, focused coaching to discover and develop skills in our employees that would have otherwise remained dormant. These invaluable new skills enrich and elevate the professional lives of our employees, our clients and our company.

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