Sustainability Tools | JDC EXEC


How to dish it out 

Chad Prinsloo | Web Designer

Janine Do Cabo  | Sustainability & Leadership Development  |  JHB, SA

May 2020


Sitting on the giving end of criticism can be both an opportunity to empower or an opportunity to abuse.  We previously looked at “how to handle criticism in the workplace” and as much as it the employee’s responsibility to take the criticism and work through it well, biting off what’s constructive and discarding what isn’t good, it is also the responsibility of the critic to convey the correction in a constructive, uplifting manner – keeping people development and their growth in mind. 


We can do so by: 

  1. Giving criticism privately, never in public, or where other employees can see or hear. When you do this as a leader you give out two unsaid messages. The first is that you respect them enough to not bring shame to them and, you’re confident enough to lead without using the pain of public humiliation of the one as an example to the others. On the other hand, when you use the public humiliation approach, you reveal your own insecurities and that is very unattractive.
  2. Do not get personal. Getting personal is like picking meat off of your teeth during a chairman meeting. It is just nasty and unnecessary. If your goal is to assert yourself as the alpha person with a better opinion or view to theirs, that mind-set is not the right kind of mind-set for lasting, effective leadership.
  3. Listen without responding to the feedback. Just like when you receive criticism, giving it would require that you listen. When you do, you learn a lot more about a person.  Maybe there was a reason they chose to do things the way they did and maybe their point of view validates their actions.  Whatever they say, listening allows you to gather valuable information in the project and also, in how you could help develop them, because a good leader seeks to build up and not tear down.
  4. Assume good intentions from your employee and leave room for error. This works both ways.  Being the one who brings correction, you need to come to the realization that no two humans are alike in the way they do things and perceive the world around them.  For this reason, you can never expect perfection.  If, however, you feel you’ve lost your focus on the vision, you could get a mentor or boss to help you get back on track.
  5. Do not micromanage. Micromanagement can be very damaging to both you and your employee’s mental health. In an article written by Villanova University, it highlights why micromanagement is not the solution when managing people.  From harming morale, encouraging low self-esteem to limiting their growth potential, it emphasizes that no good thing can come from it.  Unless your goal is to drive both you and your team insane, stay away from the temptation of trying to control every, little, thing.
  6. See criticism as an opportunity for assessment – Without it, the receiver of the criticism may not have the opportunity to grow and learn.


If you’re the person in charge, I suggest you take some advice from OG Mandino, who wrote the book, “The greatest salesman in the world,” one of my ultimate favorite books.  


In it, he outlays sound wisdom when he details the 10 vows of success. It is so easy to take out our day on someone else or as a leader shift the blame or responsibility to someone else, but when you make these personal vows, you will find yourself breaking old bad habits.


 The vows are: 


  1. Never again will I pity or belittle myself.
  2. Never again will I greet the dawn without a map.
  3. Always will I bathe my days in the golden glow of enthusiasm.
  4. New again will I be disagreeable to a living soul.
  5. Always will I seek the seed of triumph in every adversity.
  6. Never again will I perform any task at less than my best.
  7. Always will I throw my whole self into the task at hand.
  8. Never again will I wait and hope for the opportunity to embrace me.
  9. Always will I examine each night, my deeds of the fading day.
  10. Always will I maintain contact, through prayer, with my creator.




For now is all I have. Tomorrow is the day reserved for the labor of the lazy. I am not lazy. Tomorrow is the day when evil becomes good. I am not evil. Tomorrow is the day when the failure will succeed. I am not a failure.


I WILL ACT NOW.” – Og Mandino



As a leader you reflect who you are, when you improve yourself, you will improve others around you. When we learn to respond to our own errors better we will respond better to the errors of others.


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