Being critical is advantageous in business. Critically assessing the numbers. Critiquing your competitors to find their weaknesses. A manager being critical of your performance during a review.
All of this is meant to expose weaknesses in your work and make you aware of where to improve.
Being a critic is useful in identifying a problem, not always in providing a solution.
Rarely do we need someone educating us about our weaknesses; chances are we already know. What we need are solutions.
Solutions are important. Solutions present business opportunities. Solutions help people, and provide value.
In determining the best course of action when solving a problem, the critic is sure to alert you of all the reasons something will fail.
It’s easy to be a critic. The critic will:
- Say: “we have never done that before”
- Say: “that won’t work”
- Argue about semantics—not the idea
- Create an environment where new ideas are discouraged
- Views a glass half empty
Be the opposite of a critic, be an advocate. Understand the great things occurring, and provide solutions to make them better. This will drive value to customers and help more people.
An advocate understands the project, the work, and the solution at hand. An advocate will:
- Work to make things better
- Provide support for the idea at hand
- Find a solution
- Encourage new ideas
- Understand the big picture
Being an advocate means you want to improve. Advocates are interested in solutions that move the project forward. Maybe they work, maybe they don’t. They have a willingness to try again.
Being a critic has a time and a place. “Critical thinking without hope is cynicism. Hope without critical thinking is naïveté.” – Maria Popova
But if you’re overly critical and never an advocate, can you provide the most value to your customers and colleagues?
Does you inner critic prevent you from being an advocate?
Good luck and good selling!