November 13, 2007

Criticize Please!

Posted in Careers, On the Job tagged , , at 2:38 pm by Katelyn

Ryan Healy’s post today “Enough with the Praise Already, and start working smarter” (www.employeeevolution.com) reminded me of a recent staff meeting where this certain topic was raised:

Constructive Criticism

Apparently, the suggestion was made by a VP of our company that employees should complete a “survey”, if you will, on different departments and their effectiveness in the company and their usefulness to other departments.  Pretty bold if you ask me, especially because this department tends to be unorganized and cause much frustration to the rest of us in need of their help.  The VP of my department then asked if we, as a group, would be interested in hearing what other colleagues thought of our effectiveness in the company.  Only one colleague vocalized her support and interest in constructive criticism.  I will say she was rather persuasive, and I jumped on board with her.  But we were still out-numbered.  Everyone seemed satisfied with the way we do things and saw no need for feedback from a new perspective! 

Then even more recently, the time for my performance evaluation came around and I found myself listening to all praise – while good for my ego, I was actually looking forward to some constructive criticism and honest suggestions of ways to improve my work (as this is my first “real” job).

Why would my supervisor shy away from giving me some constructive criticism, especially when she knows I am in support of it?  (and I know it’s not because I am perfect)  Do you think it would be a different situation if my boss were male instead of female?  Or what if she were closer to my age instead of my parents’?

All I ask is for some guidance and honesty, because in the long run, it will help the most.

~Confused DC

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1 Comment »

  1. LA said,

    My boss, co-worker and I were just discussing this very subject yesterday. They had read reports that suggested our generation (Gen Y, the “millenials”) had problems taking criticism and constantly needed to be praise and affirmed. However, your situation sounds like all of the other generations were just as adverse to criticism as we’re supposed to be.

    I suspect that this might be a product of your workplace’s organizational culture more than anything. Is your company’s enviroment more “nurturing and friendly” than “competetive”? Not that you’d want to work someplace where cutthroat practices were common place, but there is a healthy medium.

    Maybe the next time you have a performance review and you only get good feedback, ask you boss for specific areas where you could improve. I have no doubt you’re doing a great job, but it’s prudent of you to also ask for guidence to become an even better worker.


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