“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”
Norman Vincent Peale
Praise feels good and at the right moment can be just the thing you need to hear to persevere in a challenging situation. It can be the catalyst to help launch you to new heights. Taken too far, it drives the ego and becomes the reason for doing something instead of being recognition for hard work and effort.
Criticism doesn’t always feel good but it is the most impactful message (for me anyway) that helps one grow and develop. I know that I have made vast improvements (with tons of opportunity for more growth) based on receiving open and honest criticism. The key is to have trust in the messenger and know they are relaying the criticism in an effort to help, not harm you.
When looked at through the lens of leadership it works the same way. Praise is fun to deliver, criticism isn’t always the same way. Here again the key is trust. Do our team members trust that we are delivering both praise and criticism to help them grow and prosper?
As William Shakespeare wrote in “As You Like It,” there can be “too much of a good thing.” Feedback that is all praise fuels the ego, if it is all criticism it destroys the passion. The key is to find the right balance and not shy away from one or the other.