When things aren’t going the way we want or when numbers are down compared to last month’s, we often resort to critique and indirect judgments. But unfortunately, a culture of critique can dampen the overall spirit of the workplace. When we reinforce a culture of criticism, we forfeit the innovation, creativity and discoveries that may be within a team.
As leaders, we tend to feel the responsibility to correct and guide our employees, and this is an essential duty of the role. Every leader is meant to guide a team to work toward a common goal. However, if that goal seems out of reach, our teams are missing the mark time and time again, or aren’t meeting our expectations, we tend to think our unfiltered critique will ensure an immediate turnaround in performance. But this is rarely the response that a pattern of constant evaluation inspires.
Building a culture of criticism happens slowly and subtly, but it doesn’t just come up out of thin air – we create it. To critique is easy and second nature for most of us. But a culture of criticism can ultimately be destructive.
A culture of criticism:
- Causes people to disengage.
- Keeps people from taking risks.
- Causes people to be on the defense.
- Allows expectations to remain low.
- Generates criticism.
Constant critique does not produce good results, a spike in numbers or a high-performing team. Instead, it can ultimately kill the spirit and morale of your organization. But what will enable growth and innovation is a culture of creativity and possibilities.
The famed Italian sculptor and artist of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo, once said, “Critique by creating.” Creating a culture of creativity tends to require more of us. It may be more work, but unlike criticism, creativity inspires teams with opportunities.
A culture of creativity can:
- Prompt people to stay engaged.
- Instill a culture of motivation.
- Inspire people to work above and beyond what is expected of them.
- Help your team be better problem solvers.
- Generate encouragement, enthusiasm and trust.
Instead of viewing your role as a way to critique people to fulfill their purposes, consider directing them to their greatest potential. By taking this approach, you’re showing them you are on their team and believe in them.
Avoiding a culture of critique does not mean that creativity throws all caution to the wind. But it offers a new sense of freedom. So much growth and change can be attained when criticism is minimized and creativity is encouraged.
To ensure an uplifting culture of positivity, motivation and endless possibilities, teams need to feel supported and capable. Encourage your team to increase their skill sets. Create a culture that celebrates both successes and failures. Set your team up for success. When necessary, keep criticisms brief and subtle, and begin to build a culture of encouragement.
Critiquing can often cripple our teams from bringing their best. By instilling a spirit of creativity and opportunity, we can begin to transform the culture and see our teams working together more effectively.