In the dictionary, the word “criticize” means to consider the merits and demerits of something or someone and judge accordingly. Practically speaking, to criticize means to find fault. No matter the intent behind the criticism, if it happens frequently, it can
appear to be an insidious device employed to show the criticizer
is better, smarter, and faster than the person being criticized.
Criticism protects the criticizer from examining other possibilities and from taking responsibility to help the receiver improve.
When you criticize, you stay at arm’s length from the person and the problem at hand.
Criticism without compassion and without a plan of action to make things better is destructive for both the giver and the receiver . Criticism focuses on what is missing or what is wrong. It keeps your attention on the gap, so much so that you ignore the bridge that can take you to the other side.
Bridging the gap means looking ahead so that you can create a new plan, give direction or offer instructions.
Delving deeper into what’s NOT working will never get you across the gap.
When the goal is to help someone overcome challenges and improve their game, use the flip side of criticism: encouragement. Remind them, first, what’s going well. Then, nudge them, gently, away from what’s not working.
To encourage means “to inspire with courage, spirit or hope.” The next time you find yourself ready to criticize, stop and see if you can offer some inspiration, instead.