THE FUTILITY OF CRITICISM

A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion, still.

This is because, saying somebody is wrong, or has adled wits is not going. to endear you to them, no matter your logic, or how right you are in your assessment.

So, someone asserted..

Constructive Criticisms Must However Continue…

This is as a conclusion to commendation on positive visual feedback happening in Lagos State regarding infrastructure development.

Someone else opined:

Criticisms Are Inherently Destructive, No Matter The Coloration.The Phrase ‘Constructive Criticism’ Is Oxymoronic..

Have a look an article focusing on criticism or performance review management in the workplace, and how little impact it has on positive changes here.

Humans’ resistance to criticism is a well known psychological principle. It is always interesting how people hardly ever seem to blame themselves for anything, no matter what.. catch a thief with his hand embedded in somebody else’s pockets, and he would have numerous reasons why he did the deed.

Dale Carnegie in his book, How To Win Friends And Influence People says that criticism is useless and counterproductive he believes very little can be gained from it. All it does is hurting the pride of others and spark up resentment. He opines that men are not creatures of logic but creatures of emotion and vanity.

Therefore, no matter how you criticize them (destructively or constructively) they will always come up with justification for their (in)action.

Therefore it is useless attempting to influence behavior through criticism. ‘Feedback’ may be a better term, just like using the word ‘challenge’ may elicit better response than ‘problem’.

From personal observation, criticizing (with whatever qualifier) is generally fruitless. Of course, this is a generalization, so there are bound to be exceptions.

Some humans blossom under criticism. Others wilt. Different folks…All in all, the manner of approach of the critic could be the vital thing to objectively reacting to criticism. But since communication is a two-way thing, the recipient’s personality and state of mind, plus attitude to criticism are also important.

When criticizing an intelligent narcissistic individual with a big ego, criticism wouldn’t necessarily have a positive effect. The effectiveness of criticism depends on the intelligence and intellectual honesty of the criticized person as well. Concerning the constructive criticism of our leaders to try and get the best out of them, power intoxicates, and most people on attaining power (political, financial, social) become megalomaniacs and adorn a patina of infallibility.

That’s why careful character analyses is important in putting people in (political) power as, once they have ‘got the power’, there is very little you can do (despite your so called constructive criticisms) to make them deviate from any path they have chosen to tread.

The best we can do is vote them out, and we know that’s usually a tug of war in Africa. Ask the Gambian President with his sit-tight-ism, (and numerous other leaders who refuse to relinquish power when the ovation has long since petered out). He has refused to step down despite many of his lieutenants resigning in protest of his continued stay after being defeated ad President in the Gambian Polls. The International Community has also criticized his poll rejection, to no avail.

Criticisms rarely ever achieve much change. Like religion, where the Pontiffs would have their say and the congregants would have their way, the critics would blow their grammar, and those being criticized hardly ever amend their ways on account of those criticisms (corrosive or not).

It is another psychological principle that adult humans hardly ever change. Attempting to effect a change through criticism is what we call ofuutufeete (a whistle in a hurricane).

Like a friend said to me long ago,

I Never Tell People Directly, You Are Wrong. If It Doesn’t Concern Me Directly, I Leave People To Their Folly Or Wrongdoing.If It Concerns Me, I Only Call Attention To It Tactfully And Indirectly.

According To Him, Rather Then Criticize Others, He Prefers To Attempt To Change Himself Instead, Through Honest Continuing Self-Appraisal / Evaluation.

So, as the head of the household or organization, what tactics do you deploy to get the best from your team? Through corrosive criticism, or positive feedback ?

And how should we react to honest criticisms?

To Avoid Criticism Say Nothing, Do Nothing, Be Nothing.

Elbert Hubbard

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