Weekly Thought – October 30, 2018
Fred enjoyed critical thinking, but worked hard to put aside a critical spirit. He analyzed his own motivations and constantly put forth an effort to stay in a “blessing frame of mind.” His perspective on criticism gives us all much to think about.
The What’s Next Roundtable is well into the fall season. Please lift up the team members, the campuses, and the desire for God to be glorified in all that is said and done.
Keeping Criticism Helpful
Recently, I tried to analyze the reasons I criticize. Three of them were negative and one was positive.
Reason one: If before ten o’clock in the morning I have been critical of everything and everybody, I stop and say: “Fred, what’s wrong with you? What are you mad at yourself about?” And generally, I have to go and make a call to apologize to somebody. My environment won’t straighten out that day until I quit being mad at myself and taking it out on everybody else. If I criticize too many, I’m just passing the buck on a self-grudge. Mary Alice used to tell the children to remember when they pointed at somebody else to look at their hand and see that three fingers (and even a thumb) were pointing back at them.
The second reason: To show superior knowledge. How often does some fellow show you a great idea and you are enthusiastic but then suddenly say to yourself: “I can’t be too enthusiastic because he may feel he is as smart as I am.” That drives you to say, “Joe, that is a great idea but…” Many “yeah, buts” come from the desire to show your superiority.
The third reason: A root of negative criticism is usually a performer who didn’t make the grade. Those who start well but don’t make the A list often become critics. I have seen failed executives become toxic within an organization because their criticism becomes bitter.
Now the positive reason: A genuine desire to bring improvement in a person or organization. It can be done quietly. True, positive criticism is not done in the earshot of others. Ordinarily those who are operating in a negative criticism mode make it public and loud. Really good positive criticism is specific and directed only to the point that needs correction. When you can positively criticize you are demonstrating emotional stability as a leader.
We often hear this described as constructive and destructive criticism. In my interest to stretch others, I want to be clear about my motivations and I want to focus on keeping criticism positive.
This week think about: 1) What was my motivation the last time I criticized someone? 2) Who has been helpful in teaching me the good use of criticism? 3) How can I shift my focus from negative to positive?
Words of Wisdom: “If I criticize too many, I’m just passing the buck on a self-grudge.”
Wisdom from the Word: “The speech of the righteous bears the fruit of wisdom, but the one who speaks perversion will be destroyed.” (Proverbs 10:31 NET Bible)