Criticize With The Mouth, Compliment With The Hand
Have you ever had a disagreement with someone via E mail? If so, you probably know how quickly tempers rise and the situation spins out of control. There are people with whom I’d never, ever verbally spar, but when we E chat? It’s like cats and dogs. Welcome to communication with words, but without inflection, pauses, softening the tone, etc.
I was just reading an article on business advice. The writer interviewed some big time CEOs and asked, “What’s the best business advice you ever received?”
The answer I enjoyed the most was from the head honcho of a major cosmetics company. In essence, he said his predecessor shared with him the title of this blog post.
Specifically, when you have to critique aan employee or a peer(or anyone, for that matter), do it verbally and in person. When you’re ready to compliment someone, do it in writing.
Why is this so helpful?
Well, to start, having a written record of a criticism is something most folks tend to dwell over again and again and again. A few weeks ago, I got an E mail from a business relation. Some of her points were legit, some were just stupid. But it all came into my ears as criticism. I looked at this E mail no more than half a dozen times, dissecting it, analyzing it, cursing it-all before I realized I was driving myself nuts. Then, I deleted it. And quickly deleted my entire recycle bin.
Plus, a “Good job!” or “Atta boy!” doesn’t mean nearly as much if it’s in passing. If someone compliments me with words written in an E mail or letter, I treasure that. I don’t if they just say it. After all, compliments are handed out constantly(step into any department store and you’ll quickly be complimented by a sales person).
I’d never heard it put quite this concisely, but from now on, any disagreement will not be met with a reply to an E mail, but with a call. Any time I need to compliment someone, it’ll be by using the tips of my fingers.
Hope this advice works for you, too.