Feedback or Criticism
When I started my work career way back in 1981, it was a real culture shock to be thrown into a busy shop environment with time-served butchers constantly ridiculing and taking the mick, and with the freezing cold in winter, sweltering in the hotter days in the summer, with the chill cabinets belting out heat to keep the meat cool, it was no picnic. Throw in a Boss who berated you at any opportunity or any mistake you made; it was hard being an apprentice way back in those days. However, as difficult as it was, it toughened me up, and made every other thing coming after, like “water running off a duck’s back”
But have we now gone soft on the youth of today?..
I have always thought about the best ways to “motivate” and encourage my Son at his football and studies, and so far I have done a decent job. However, I was conscious of one of his good friends in the same team, who does not seem to get the same feedback from his parents and is praised for everything, with phrases like “You did your best” and “you can’t win them all” after defeats… This type of falseness annoys me greatly…
So, one day while my son’s friend was staying over at the house, I offered him some words of advice, “Paul (not his real name), Do you want to be a better football player?”, to which his obvious answer was “Yes, of course,”… So with an authoritarian but encouraging tone, I said, “Well lose some weight and learn to use your left foot as football is a two-footed sport!”, I then offered to “talk the talk” and show them out in the back garden, drills to improve balance and work on the weaker aspects of their game. The stuff that I wish someone had taught me.
Later that night when the lads had retired for the night to no doubt spend countless hours playing video games, my Wife, foam dripping from her mouth like a ravenous pack dog, started to berate me for saying such insensitive things to a guest. I was well and truly told off…!
However, fast forward a few months later, when I took my son to a game in which a few of his friends were playing in, and while watching the team go through their pre-match warm-up I noticed a lad who looks familiar but just couldn’t place in my mind. That’s until he came up to speak to Ben. It was a new version of “Paul”, slimmer and looking more athletic. I remarked on how well he appeared, and he responded by saying he took my words of “encouragement” onboard with a positive attitude and decided to take on the “feedback” and work on his weaknesses..
It was a delight to see a lad who had previously struggled throughout a match strolling through it using both feet, looking every bit of a football player, and actually managing to chase down the ball without the fear of taking a heart attack.
Feedback can always be viewed as either criticism or support in the eye of the beholder, however, I think it is in the manner and spirit in which the message is delivered, that is the key to getting the best out of someone, and help improves their standards.
So the next time the apprentice or a staff member makes an ass of something, make sure you deliver your response in a firm but positive way!
“The content of these blogs does not necessarily reflect the views of TPS Scotland as a Company, but are a personal view of one individual”