Although the word ‘ criticism’ is supposed to be neutral and suggests both negative and positive feedback, yet it seems to have a negative connotation. From a tender age, our mind perceives criticism as an unfair judgment passed on us, thereby triggering a defensive mindset.
The nature of the professional environment is such that it automatically involves the scrutiny of an individual’s boss and colleagues. Since professional feedback is necessary for adequate management and growth, it is difficult to avoid criticism.
Despite the general assumption, criticism can also be constructive in nature. When the intention behind criticizing someone is for his or her own professional growth, it serves as a catalyst to reinforce positive behaviour in the recipient. Constructive criticism helps in identifying areas that require professional growth, thereby making it easier for the recipient of the criticism to avoid mistakes made earlier.
Many easily surrender to criticism, which leads them towards problems ranging from depression, tension and anxiety to even panic attacks. It lowers their selfesteem, further reducing their confidence, making them doubt their own true potential. This in turn does not only affect their decision- making abilities but also has detrimental impact on their productivity as a whole. Persistent criticism over a prolonged period breeds anger, frustration and negativity negativity.
A study reveals that employees who face criticism at the workplace have a 30 percent higher rate of heart diseases than those who are lucky enough to escape one of the most common horrors of the professional world. Derogatory remarks affect employees’ morale and confidence.
On the other hand, a worldwide study conducted by Towers Watson supports the general assumption that positive feedback or, in other words, constructive criticism helps in increasing productivity and improves the well- being of employees. Unlike the effects of negative criticism, positive feedback liberates an individual from stress and anxiety. It therefore stimulates creativity, which leads to increased productivity.
Criticism often leads the recipient to adapt to the demands of the criticizing individual or to rebel against him. However, reflecting rationally on the validity of the criticism, while keeping oneself emotionally detached is one of the most challenging aspects of survival in the corporate world. It also reflects the individual’s maturity and self- control. It prevents the recipient from rebelling with fury and paves the way towards a better relationship between the employer and employee.
The individual who receives criticism must plan his thoughts and actions and also communicate with the higher management to avoid th the same mistakes in future. The recipient must also accept and welcome criticism for positive changes in life.
Since it takes the effort of two individuals to improve their relationship, employees along with their superiors need to work on their attitudes and approach towards life.
It is extremely crucial for employers to understand that studies stress upon the devastating effects of criticism on several employees. Since employees are valuable assets in whom the company invests a considerable amount of time, money and effort, their physical and psychological wellbeing should always come first. For that reason, the ones in authority must transform negative feedback into a positive one. Keeping the benefits of constructive criticism in view, employers must highlight and praise certain commendable aspects of their employees. Such frequent appreciation works as a confidence booster and also enhances the individual’s productivity.
Another significant prerequisite for productivity stemming from criticism is the fact that all kinds of feedback must reach the receiver directly. Providing the recipient with a precise guideline to resolve the issue is the most effective way to confront an employee who is at fault.