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My Criticism Is the Highest Compliment I Can Pay You
Every leader, parent, and coach needs to make their good intentions known and not leave their desire to help others improve be left to interpretation.
Taking the time and effort to evaluate what actions are required for marked improvement requires focus and commitment. Offering accurate and timely feedback is hard work. The easier path is to ignore the impediments to improvement and offer general praise. Or, to simply direct your attention elsewhere.
The truth is the highest compliment you pay those you lead in the effort you make to help them succeed. This requires feedback — sometimes, hard feedback. We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t care about the progress others could make. To care enough to lead and offer feedback is no small gesture. It is what leadership is all about; however, too many leaders don’t make this clear to those they lead.
Sometimes, people are sensitive to the feedback they receive because they don’t appreciate the reason it is being offered in the first place—to help them succeed. While good intentions do not absolve leaders from harsh or demeaning feedback, it is essential that those you lead understand your heart.
Be explicit at a moment when no feedback is forthcoming. Tell others that your criticism is the highest compliment you can offer. Talk about it. Explore whether they understand why your passion for their improvement requires you to be critical at times.