Friday, February 3, 2012

Critics, Grumblers and Complainers

When leaders and managers are faced with criticism of either of the organization or themselves, we find too frequently the impulsive reaction is to dismiss the negativity and the negative people.

We suggest, and others concur, that this may be a mistake. One of our White Papers contains numerous sources on why critics both outside and inside the organization need a voice. These critics are often passionate about your organization or you, but cannot artfully voice the desire for you or your organization to improve. Worse, when you ignore them, they are denied an opportunity to contribute, collaborate and feel part of an organization. Disengagement leads to unhappiness which in turn leads to lowered productivity. As a result you lose an opportunity to keep your critics engaged in your success. Certain credible research suggests if an organization disengages from both internal and external critics and they in turn disengage from you, their passion for your organization can become destructive.

Properly harnessed criticism and complaints can be turned into constructive feedback that can be used to improve professional development programs, products, services and strategic planning.

Criticism directed towards management or leadership is where 360 surveys come in. Properly constructed 360 tools can contain criticism and filter it into credible, valid and recognized leadership and management skill categories. Not only are critics given a voice but also a platform to constructively and candidly engage with company management and leadership. This engagement can lead to real meaningful behavior change that has been statistically proven to improve an organization's effectiveness.

Custom surveys can be used to capture qualitative data and feedback about products and services. Properly constructed with statistical validity, these surveys can help interpret changing consumer tastes, competitive threats, and demographic trends. Also this data can be used as leading edge indicators that drive innovation efforts and strategic planning. We also believe risk identification and risk management can be aided by a properly constructed survey tool.

While criticism may be misdirected or downright mean spirited, using survey tools can contain the criticism and engage the criticizer. Done right, survey tools will filter the feedback into useful and meaningful data that you can use to improve yourself as a leader or manager and improve the productivity and profitability of your organization.

1 comment:

  1. There's definitely a place for criticism, but as you've pointed out, it's often the way it's delivered that can be misinterpreted, rather than the criticism itself, especially if it becomes personal rather than relating to an action or event.