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Replace Criticism With Encouragement

Replace Criticism With Encouragement

Replace Criticism With Encouragement

(Grow Yourself and Your Team)

Over the span of my career, I have worked for Irish, British, American and South African companies. I have takeaways from these different nationalities and value the experience gained. 

I have attended and partaken in meetings in all these organisations. Let me tell you what I remember. 


In a management meeting in a very English company as a person starting a sales career.  

I remember the Managing Director standing at the top of the table and telling the audience of salespeople that there were only two groups in the organisation that really mattered.  

The people who manufactured the product and the people who sold it.  

Everyone else was surplus to requirements. He made me feel very important as a young salesperson, his aim, no doubt. 

In the American company, they were always positive and encouraging, and the management style resonated very well with me, having recently completed a ‘Dale Carnegie’ course on leadership. (Little did I know at that time that I would go on to be a Dale Carnegie coach/trainer for over 15 years) 


In sales meetings, one person was asked to demonstrate how to present a product to a prospective customer.  

A scary experience even for senior salespeople.  

Presenting to your peers is more challenging than delivering to customers. 

However, it was clearly explained to us the reason for doing this was not to evaluate us, but to learn from each other how they describe particular technical aspects/features of the product.  

This is how we learned from more experienced sales people and product specialists, gaining confidence in ourselves and the product. 

Encouragement is critical to good performance: 

I awoke at 06:05 this morning, and a thought came to me about how to continue this article that has been lying in my draft folder for quite some time. 

The start of this article gives a couple of examples of how I was encouraged as a young person in my earlier work life and then stops. 

To complete the article, I was thinking during that time between half asleep and awake that it would be good to remind leaders in business about how they could provide more encouragement and less criticism, of people in their immediate sphere of influence. 

Here are some suggestions:

I have often found that we take the people who are good employees for granted. 

E.g. They turn up on time, do their work, go home, and are rarely absent!
(Could this be true of you?) 

People who can be relied upon to finish the task, even if it requires additional commitment and possibly hours to get the job done.
(Do you even notice?) 

Do you have people with a very particular skill that they are perfectly willing to share and mentor others in developing, even though it extends their working day? 

Thank You: 

A thank you, and a small gift would not go amiss. It’s not the value of the gift; it’s the fact that you noticed and acknowledged the commitment. 

These straightforward examples I am suggesting here will I have no doubt, resonate and encourage you to think of other situations that may be more applicable to your particular role. 

While this article is focused on a business audience, my suggestions are equally relevant to home and family life. 

Why not give family life some thought e.g.: 

I regularly hear parents shouting from the side-lines of football pitches what they believe to be encouraging instructions to their children. 

The expression on the faces of the children would clearly suggest they are not being encouraged, but embarrassed. 

My advice: 

Leave the side-line coaching to others more qualified and just be happy that your child is out in the fresh air and active with a group of friends.

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