Tuesday, March 23, 2010

i-TFTD #265: On Praise and Criticism

i-TFTD #265: On Praise and Criticism

#265-1. The shame that arises from praise which we do not deserve often makes us do things we should otherwise never have attempted.
-Fran├žois de la Rochefoucauld, French author of maxims and memoirs (1613 –1680)

(Thanks and a doff of hat to K Shailesh, another broadcaster of thoughts, for sharing this and many others.)

#265-2. Management that is destructively critical when mistakes are made, kills initiative.
-William L. McKnight, President and Chairman of 3M from 1949 to 1966

(Thanks to D Karthikeyan for sharing this.)

#265-3. If there was no praise or criticism in the world, then who would you be?
-Howard Behar, author of "It's Not About the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks"

(Thanks to Ramanan Jagannathan for sharing this.)

This is not necessarily a bad thing. I have seen parents use this successfully with their children to elicit the desired behavior by praising even before the behavior has been demonstrated. Though we might sometimes experience a little shame on undeserved praise, most of the time, our rationalizing brain would lead us to convince ourselves that we actually deserve it. Daniel Gilbert, whose research at Harvard has earned him the nickname of Professor Happiness, whose delightfully informative book titled, "Stumbling on Happiness" I recently read, says this is part of our psychological immune system.

Striking a balance in management approach of encouraging risk taking (and therefore, by definition, mistakes) while also demanding excellence is so difficult, which is why we admire those companies and leaders that seem able to achieve it.

Tough to imagine a situation of no praise and no criticism! Pondering this question would lead us to a better understanding of our values and morals.

No comments: