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Criticisms that create explosions in companies. EN

Carmen López

Psychologist. Master in Human Resources.



Looking for talent doesn't mean that you have to read a lot of curriculums, but to follow the trace it leaves: An excellent work. Because the most important thing is not what you learn, or the companies in which you have worked in. The most important thing is what you do. 

You need five things to make your work exceptional: Energy, focus, time, creativity and an total commitment to quality. 

Behind these five pillars there's just one thing: Motivation. Motivation is the difference between the world champion and the second classified. Motivation makes a runner run to the finish line when he has no more stamina left, a climber reach an impossible summit, a creator fight against himself until his work is perfect. With motivation you find time where there's no more time, motivation keeps your energy level and your focus at the highest level, and makes you see the world differently. When you are motivated you are capable of throwing away an almost finished work and starting it again until it is excellent. 

The motivation is generated by the necessity. It's clear: If someone is hungry, no doubt he will put all his mental, physical and time resources to satisfy that necessity. The necessity is the motive; the necessity shoots the motivation up. This isn´t new. In the 1930's, Abraham Maslow proposed a theory about the human needs. According to it, the people who mobilize their resources do it on account of a necessity: Eating, sex, money, belonging, acknowledgement or self-realization. 


But to find the source of Talent we have to look beyond the necessity. There´s no doubt that the physical needs subjugate the rest: Hunger, thirst, to avoid pain... but in developed economies, these needs are very often covered. Most of the people are motivated by the superior needs in the Maslow Pyramid: Money, power, belonging, freedom, acknowledgement or self-realization. And how the marketing experts and the sales people know very well, the needs can be created, changed or slanted. You just need to control one thing: the beliefs. If someone is absolute convinced about something he becomes unstoppable. 

The beliefs are the origin of everything else. 


Criticism is the feedback we receive for a job or our behavior. It is an exchange of information to advance in your company or personally. 

Unfortunately we do not learn the necessary skills to make constructive  criticism or on the other hand, we let too much time go by and then we explode making criticisms that destroy relationships. The consequences are: sarcastic, disrespectful or accusatory criticism in the company and lead to a reduction in performance and motivation, staff turnover and a bad working environment.

The most frequent reactions from people who receive criticism are: 

getting defensive, apologizing, avoiding responsibility or closing themselves off completely from working with those who criticize and quitting their job or being fired.

How should we give constructive criticism?

By focusing only on what the person has done and what they can do, in the hope that they will do better.  When we attack an individual´s character, such as calling him or her incompetent, lazy, irresponsible ... the only thing it does is make this individual defensive and thus closes him or her off to possible solutions. We all understand that there are setbacks or mistakes at times but if a person is incompetent, we understand that it cannot be changed so easily.

According to Harry Levinson, to make a proper criticism you have to keep these points in mind:

1. Describe specific facts. Point out what the person has done well and not so well and what they could change.

2. Offer solutions or alternatives. 

3. Criticism is effective face to face and in private.

4. Develop empathy. Reflect on the impact of your words on the other person

Team and company leaders should remind their teams and employees that we are not perfect and that criticism is an opportunity to move forward. They are not an attack on the person but an improvement in action. 

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