Monday, November 18, 2019

Criticism and critiques

Feedback has gotten a really bad rap in the twenty-first century. Opinions can be polarizing. Especially at work, feedback can feel like a thinly disguised list of everything that is horrible about our performance.

Did you know that critiquing and criticizing are different? "criticism is judgmental and focused on finding fault, while critique is descriptive and balanced."

Feel free to dismiss the comments that are about tearing us down or that have a central message that we are terrible with no recourse to improve.

Embrace critiques that offer a sincere hand up on improving. Thank those who offer support, not by dismissing our projects for their errors, but by asking for more with improvements.

Discuss the difference with your mentoring partner.  Coach yourself for better critique ability.

(And thank you, Heather, or superb support with generous and useful critiques)

Monday, November 11, 2019

Connecting others

Can you make at least two connections for folks this week?

Whether it is helping work colleagues or friends expand circles, a simple introduction can be all it takes to go from hoping to happening.

I usually an email with the following format:

<Sue> meet <Joan>. <Joan>, <Sue>.

<Sue>, <Joan> is a (description of what might interest<Sue>) plus I find him/her to be (personal story/descriptorsince you're using your own reputation as the introduction base).

<Joan>, <Sue>  is a... 

I hope you share a very interesting beverage together!

You get the idea? If unsure of the reception, check with each person in advance before sending the introduction. 

Mainly we are waiting for permission to talk with each other. Give someone permission this week.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Holding back from speaking

The best advice I ever got from a mentor was "Before you open your mouth, ask yourself: Does anyone in this room need to know that I know that?"

It's a difficult question to ask yourself. We work in a culture where staying silent is not often viewed as a viable way to demonstrate competency. The problem is that the noise of chiming in has gotten so loud that it might be time to become selective with our contributions.

Listen to other folks and wonder if they're sharing from passion, from need or simply to show they thought of the same idea/concept/angle and don't want to be seen as left out.

I try to ask myself "Who really needs to know this?" "Why do I need to share this?" "What happens if I don't say anything on this topic?" Sometimes I even sit in meetings with my hand over my mouth.

It is ok to speak up for any of the reasons above - as long as it is by choice and not by habit of chiming in.

Keep in mind....Part listening skills, part personal brand, staying silent can be a powerful choice.