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Is criticizing your employees a moral obligation?

As the founder of a company where you are leading the efforts to push things forward, should you criticize your employees when they screw up on something?

15 Replies

Tom Cunniff
4
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Tom Cunniff Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder at Cunniff Consulting, B2B Brand Consultancy
Criticize, no. Coach, yes.
Ansar Hafil
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Ansar Hafil Entrepreneur
Business Consultant at Winning In Business
Hello Manoj, Before criticizing somebody in your team for not achieving a goal, please ask yourself the followingquestions: (1)Was the goal SMART (Specific, Measurable, achievable, Relevant, Time delay) ? (2) Did the person have the Skills, Experience, Knowledge and Personality to achieve the goal ? (3) Had the person receivedadequate Training to achieve the goal ? (4) Did you as his manager provide enough coaching to help the person achieve the goal ? Ansar Hafil Business Consultant Winning In Business +41 (0)79 451 95 81 [removed to protect privacy] [www.winninginbusiness.ch](http://www.winninginbusiness.ch) Domaine des Pins C 1196 Gland (VD) Switzerland Is criticizing your employees a moral obligation? @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { #featured-advisors-left{ width:45% !important; padding: 0px !important; } #featured-advisors-right{ width: 54% !important; padding: 0px !important; } } FD:Discuss New Discussion on Is criticizing your employees a moral obligation? Started by Manoj Kumar Sahoo Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Project Management Expert As the founder of a company where you are leading the efforts to push things forward, should you criticize your employees when they screw up on something? FOLLOW DISCUSSION or Reply Directly to this email to participate in the discussion Manage your email notifications
Gabor Nagy
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Gabor Nagy Entrepreneur
Founder / Chief architect at Skyline Robotics
I agree with Tom. It's all in the attitude and presentation. Keep the focus on what you are trying to achieve, rather than getting personal.
Resolving issues like that is not just a "moral" obligation. It's crucial, if it affects the success of the company and the livelihood of other employees.
I had to tell someone who worked for me that it's not cool to say you've done a task you haven't, thinking that you'll finish it later, because the people you work for will be counting on that task already being complete... I'd much rather have bad news than sugarcoating and risking finding out something is not done one day before a major deadline.
I explained it in those terms, calmly and professionally and the person was still embarrassed and defensive, but he understood and this has not happened afterwards.

John Corry
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John Corry Entrepreneur
Software Engineer, Tools at Yik Yak, Inc.
"Criticism" will do much more harm than good to your entire organization. I know personally I would never want to serve under a leader who doesn't understand this. We all make mistakes, being berated for them is a surefire way to make work unsafe, unhappy and just not worth it anymore. Your team is constantly being solicited to go join other teams, the good ones will not stay to be attacked and criticized every time the founder thinks they should have done something differently. "Moral obligation"?...I am laughing.
Saravjit Singh
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Saravjit Singh Entrepreneur
Independent Consultant and Trainer
Constructive criticism - yes, but this after you have built up your employees Emotional Intelligence.
However, we find that 90% of failures are process related and only 10% attributable to people. So, start off by first finding out whether the process went wrong and where.
But why criticize in any case? Take failures as learning and stepping stones to success. Move on, don't sit on failures.

Joe Albano, PhD
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Joe Albano, PhD Advisor
Using the business of entrepreneurialism to turn ideas into products and products into sustainable businesses.
There is much to learn from this classic anecdote about Tom Watson, Jr. - the second president of IBM:

According to it, Tom Watson had called a VP to his office to discuss a failed development project that lost IBM in the range of $10 million. Expecting to be fired, the VP presented his letter of resignation. Tom Watson Jr. just shook his head: "You are certainly not leaving after we just gave you a $10 million education."

Gary Gitelson
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Gary Gitelson Entrepreneur
VP of Engineering at mPerpetuo, Inc.
I definitely agree with Tom. You can't just let it go, because you need to create accountability. But criticizing failure prevents risk taking, makes the team scared to commit, and creates a paralyzing culture. You need to analyze why it failed, and work with the person to produce better results in the future. But criticizing is not a productive leadership strategy in general. As was also suggested, responsibility for failure is often just as much with the person who created the goal as with the person who failed. If the goal was not realistic and measurable, then failure was preordained. Be careful about coming down hard on someone who was trying to do the impossible and came up short.
Dan Meier
2
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Dan Meier Entrepreneur
Reinventing Manufacturing Management Software
Manoj, I think you're missing the point. This shouldn't be about criticizing bad behavior. Rather, it should be about improving learning, building trust, and maintaining momentum. Something bad happened, so understand why it happened, fix it, learn from it, learn how NOT to repeat it, and move on. Building a punitive environment only demoralizes people and creates an environment that's unsafe to innovate.
Alan Clayton
0
0
Alan Clayton Advisor
Roaming Mentor @ SOSV
No, but reviewing your recruitment process should be
John Corry
0
0
John Corry Entrepreneur
Software Engineer, Tools at Yik Yak, Inc.
Alan, which recruitment process eliminates screw ups/mistakes? Or do you mean, "review your recruitment process" to consider how you're going to convince/persuade people to come work at a place where they'll find themselves under attack from leadership when they "screw up"?
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