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How to Criticize Up and Down Your Organization and Make It Pay Off - Essay Example

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Introduction The major thrust of the book The Critical Edge is how organizations can make criticism useful and work for them, as opposed to against them. As Weisinger (1989) states in the first chapter, the reactions to criticism is typically negative – it wounds people, it ends up with hurt feelings and the criticized person ends up feeling lonely…
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Download file to see previous pages That said, Weisinger points out that criticism is necessary for growth. For instance, Weisinger (1989) states that the Romantic period in philosophy, politics and the arts came about because the individuals involved with the Romantic period criticized the neoclassical period, and because criticism of the neoclassical followers had their criticism suppressed. Weisinger (1989) further point out that Louis the XIV suppressed criticism, and the response to this was the American and French revolutions. In other words, when criticism is stifled a cataclysm might develop which changes the status quo. Moreover, Weisinger states that criticism from the likes of Galileo, Darwin and Freud changes societies in general. Criticism is necessary for growth, and criticism cannot be suppressed without consequences. Therefore, according to Weisinger (1989), criticism, being necessary for growth and change, and being necessary to influence, motivate and change behavior, must be expressed in a positive way so that the criticism can be accepted and useful, as opposed to simply negative and demoralizing. Weisinger further states that there are barriers to individuals accepting criticism and applying the criticism to their lives to makes themselves, and the organization, better. There are psychological hurdles which must be overcome. Weisinger talks in terms of cognitive appraisal, which means that individuals have a mental framework with which they receive information like criticism, and this framework dictates how the criticism will be processed. The framework is built through classical conditioning – criticism in the past has produced a negative response, so present criticism, even if tactfully presented, will also present the negative response. Moreover, since criticism is often portrayed in the media as negative – such as headlines which link criticism to failure – the mind links the two concepts together. Criticism equals failure. Modeling is another psychological force at work, and this means that how one’s family criticized one another is what is known to the individual. If one’s parents responds to criticism by yelling, making retaliatory comments, or leaving the room, the individual is likely to do the same. The modeling focuses upon how one criticizes, as well as how one reacts to criticism. Operant learning is also a force at work, and this is when an individual does X, he gets the result of Y. A worker responds to criticism with anger, so the supervisor backs off. This reinforces the angry response, so that the worker continues to use this response when criticized. Since criticism is obviously necessary, because there can be no growth and change without it, and individuals are hard-wired either to not accept criticism gracefully or to give criticism in a counter-productive manner, what can be done? This question is the focus of Heidringer’s book and and analysis. The bulk of the analysis is that criticism must be redefined in a manner that it is not seen as tearing somebody down, but, rather, giving them information which they can use to improve. This is an important message to myself and my future career growth, not just because it is inevitable that I will be criticized, so I need to know how to handle this criticism and apply it so that it is not negative but positive, but also because it will help me learn how to criticize so that any team that I ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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