August 4th, 2004


.Work | Thoughts of the day

The biggest impediment to improvement is defensiveness.
Corollary: openness to criticism and feedback from any source is crucial for continuous success. But so is the ability to criticize constructively, such that it solicits action and not defensiveness.

If you ask for feedback or receive unsolicited criticism, but then spend all your energy on explaining why the criticism is not valid and the feedback is not useful, then, well, you've missed the point. Obvious? Yes. Easy to implement? Huh! Defensiveness seems to be such a deeply rooted innate response that we can't seem to be able to get away from it. On the corollary side, a good quote I heard recently was:
"There is only one thing more pleasurable than knowing that someone else is wrong and being able to prove it - and that is reveling in that person's or group's wrongness with someone else who agrees with you."
Not very eloquently put, but still a good point - we seem to be much better at accusations and "proving someone wrong" than on genuinely helping them improve. And we seem to take this to self-destructive lengths, preferring to discuss the mistakes of our colleagues or supervisors with our supporters rather than providing direct feedback to help things improve. I guess the two things about management are:
1. Criticize constructively
2. Continuously solicit and act on feedback

Why the thoughts? Work-related, but I won't go into details to protect the innocent.