A critic is a person who points out blunders, in such a way that simple mistakes look like launching pads for a global disaster – all fueled by your few faults.
Critics in today’s toxic workplaces often compare fault finding skills to a unique and higher intelligence. In reality, cynicism requires less brainpower and spews more toxins than most people realize.
Take your pick! Would you rather work alongside the well known critic or cynic in your organization, or interact with a skilled facilitator like Dan Isenberg over at Harvard Business Review. Dan opened a lively discussion on dangers of entrepreneurial passion, and then guided widely diverse views as curiosity-building-tools for new insights to replace old assumptions.
It’s often the difference between infighting or innovation at work, and the choice depends on a person’s focus. Think of it this way - your brain actually builds new neuron pathways for each criticism or innovation engaged. Why then do critics jump in so fast on their mission to damn the dumb?
Slip into any area that could be deemed a mistake, and you’ll you spot critics who rush in to strike out errors, much like a fire hose douses unwanted flames. A lifetime of work with both critical and facilitator leaders, showed me 10 common causes that lead people to critique, criticize, correct, or outright clobber a bloke at work.
Reasons differ, yet critics follow somewhat similar patterns:
- Facts appear wrong or missing to critics and as a result they feel it’s vital to set folks straight and make records right.
- Brainy comparisons to right and wrong, prompt critics to refuse being outwitted by misinformed plebs and underlings.
- Positions of power appear available to critics who spot most errors and make these known to leaders.
- Feedback forms come with the job and critics assume that these require a certain percentage of negative responses.
- Opposing views confuse issues and so critics favor one correct way, which is usually their own and often uninformed.
- Errors offer a platform for critics to pontificate their perceived finer approach to whatever topic arises.
- Personal reflection for growth takes mental skill - and blame comes far easier to a cynic, than does self-reflection.
- Bloom’s taxonomy that claims water-tight facts are the lowest form of knowledge, is disbelieved by critics, who insist that correct facts are highest, and depend on critiques to amend.
- Promotions are at stake and critics qualify for some leadership roles more than their victims, if they showcase others’ flaws.
- Critics like to appear smarter and it helps their genius-like status to prove others dumber than themselves.
Brain related research by Suzann Pileggi suggests that thriving relationships accentuate the positive and broken relationships tend to look more for flaws.
To focus more on talent and offer intelligent innovation that critics lack, facilitators:
1. Look for more linguistic intelligence. Want words to come easier, poetry to mean more, speeches to ring truer, or books to yield more wealth? Then play with words, do crosswords, compete in scrabble, debate, or offer to speak to a local club. Search for new ideas on the internet, write a blog, or tell your best idea in 140 letters or less, and and that too will boost your linguistic brainpower. What could you do today, to gain even more mastery over language?
2. See more musical intelligence. Want music to move and shake your creative projects? Pop on Gregorian Chant to pop you out of stress. Play Bach or Handel to plan your next creative project. Toss tunes from Shumann, Chopin or Liszt into your romance and watch it grow. Or gain inspiration from Soul, Blues or Calypso. Don Campbell shows how to gain musical intelligence to jack up productivity, or to improve your moods on a bad day?
3. Spot intrapersonal intelligence. Need intuition for better decisions, common sense for keen insights, contentment in your own company, simple ability to laugh more on a busy day? Thanks to neurogenesis, we now know this intelligence too will grow with use. Panic a bit too fast? Feel sidelined a bit too much? Run from risks or new adventures? Grow sad when others celebrate family ties? If so, you’d enjoy a heaping dose of intrapersonal smarts to add contentment and turn those tougher days around. Plan a lunch alone at your favorite digs, practice smiling to improve a mood, ask a question to your day, or plan a risk today that would ratchet up contentment. Simply put, whenever you do tasks related to introspection or personal intelligence, your brain begins to rewire brainpower for a more clever you.
4. Highlight bodily kinesthetic intelligence. Would you like to dance, better? Then step and move beside a person who dances well. Want to move with coordinated grace? Then shuffle and stretch in ways you hope to grow more memory within body muscles themselves. It’s much the same for skills intelligence to smack a tennis ball with greater ease, or put together furniture with finer flare. Do it to grow it. Then watch for wonder as the brain kicks into kinesthetic mode or shifts into movement gears that zap alive with use, regardless of age or limitations that hold too many folks back.
5. Check for mathematical or logical intelligence. Why not start a schedule to plan your next week, since sequencing and patterning is at math smart’s core. So’s organization at the heart of math IQ as is seeing the bigger picture. Like other intelligences mathematical genius grows more through math ideas that take you feet first, and then on new flights – with use. Mistakes add growth in math, yet schools use errors as arrows to kill a brain’s best. Even Einstein said that Education’s what remains after one’s forgotten everything learned in school. Have you found ways to use and grow logical mathematical, in spite of limitations learned at school?
6. Observe visual or spatial intelligence. Grab a paper along with anything that writes and sketch your funniest memory in the last few weeks? Attend an art class, and learn to paint. Visit galleries, surround yourself with images that teach you more about life, or create an avatar to show your thoughts to an online community. Graph ideas, select visuals to explain life, or take photographs to record the week of people you value to use your spatial intelligence and to develop more through use.
7. Find interpersonal intelligence. Interview a person you know to discover what makes that person smart? Ask, “How are you smart?” rather than the more traditional question “How smart are you? Narrow that person’s narrative about personal intelligence into one or two words, and you have already grown intelligence interpersonally. Would you agree that people high in interpersonal intelligence will come away with amazing insights here? Or can you see how the exchange itself offers opportunity to expand one’s interpersonal acumen?
8. Draw on naturalistic intelligence. If you spend excessive time breathing in refreshing scents of spring, surrounded by sounds of brooks running, or captivated by natures’ change for different seasons, you likely possess good amounts of naturalistic intelligence. You’ll gain more though, by using patterns and designs found outside to solve problem faced in any situation. Soil types, animal or tree patterns, or rock formations – all amount to nature’s wisdom.
For better balance than fault-finding, why not take brainpower to new levels. First, survey your own multiple intelligences to see what’s stronger and what acumen you’d like to expand. Then, plan one activity a week to include a strength you most enjoy. Watch for critics though, because they tend to ambush any leader who takes such a risk for the sake of growth. Have you seen it?