Oct 20, 2010

Have I been criticized? Do I enjoy it? Am I mean?

I've heard life is not fair, but I was still surprised some coaches hinted I was mean after my last blog post ‘’Criticize your employees – here is WHY.’’

To all who don’t know me and wondered if I know how (bad) it feels to receive criticism I must say I used to receive probably more criticism in one month than most have in one year.

I’ve been not only criticized, but also verbally attacked, screamed at, sworn at, offended, undermined, called names, threatened, asked to ''get lost'' etc.

You might think I was a horrible employee, but I just happened to work for some lovely people who were a little too explosive, and also for couple of mean bastards, but then I made sure I did not stay there long. (working for b’s.)

And no, I did not enjoy it. I cried couple of times, I did not sleep few nights, I complained to family and friends, but I did survive and learned some lessons on the way.

I have also been in position to discover one CEO I reported directly to, who was nice, sweet talking and extremely friendly with me blamed me and complained about me behind my back to other executive. Guess what? It felt worse than direct criticism or even confrontation.

I thought that was cowardly and mean. Did I trust him from that moment on? No. Did I see him as my leader? No. Did I make sure I leave? Yes.

As a young manager, in high-tech manufacturing of one European MNC I had to criticize daily some of at least 150 employees I was responsible for at a time. I was criticized about their performance, too.

Nobody taught me how to do it right. I made mistakes, others did me wrong, but we were reaching and exceeding our targets, kept jobs for our people and we were learning every day.

We had courage to try, fail, learn, improve and find the way.

After 17 years of hands on management experience in different countries, MBA degree, business schools, countless training courses, books, I am still learning, trying, testing, and improving.

I like sharing my experience, and telling like it is. That is my job now as a management consultant and executive coach.

My words are not always sugar coated when it comes to business, because I live in real world and most of you do, too. I am looking for real solutions for real problems, real people and real business.

In the ideal world we would not have to criticize anyone and our employees would always do everything perfect. So there would not be a need for managers. In this world, you, dear managers and leaders are very much needed and we need you to keep doing great job.

If it was always easy anyone could do it. But you are not anyone and I know you don’t accept just anything, so you will have to deal with criticism, give and receive it, and if you do it well we will all be one step closer to that ideal world we talked about.

Next blog post: Three stages of criticizing I recommend.

Thanks for your feedback in private messages to me, please feel free to share your opinions or experience with others by posting a comment on the blog. Or maybe you have never been criticized?

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