b Self-Helpless: True Tales of a Working Girl: Difficult Personalities: The Criticizer

1/22/2006

 

Difficult Personalities: The Criticizer

Do you work for this type of person? This story is taken from an article of the same name written by Gary S. Topchik, author of Managing Negativity in the Workplace.

If you have a creative approach or different/better way of doing something, The Criticizer will knock it (and you) down. Their mission is to disagree with anything that is said. He likes to be right, no matter what. He finds problems wherever he goes, never opportunities. The Criticizer will never give you positive feedback but will always jump on your mistake. His favorite saying is "Bad idea."

For example:
Colleague
: Let's drive instead of flying. We'll get there faster.
Criticizer: What, are you crazy?
Colleague: Why do you say that?
Criticizer: It's just a bad idea.
Colleague: OK. Let's fly up tonight so we can be fresh for tomorrow afternoon's presentation.
Criticizer: Where are you coming from? Bad idea.
Colleague: Why?
Criticizer: Trust me on it. You have less experience. Your thinking is illogical.
Colleague: Please be specific and explain yourself.
Criticizer: What? Now you can't understand me? What's wrong with you?

The Solution
A Criticizer likes to give negative feedback, but he is rarely is specific.

1- Ask him for examples, evidence, or his reasoning for disagreeing.

2- Emphasize that you want to incorporate his concerns to make the project as good as possible.

You must be persistent and not give up. He will find it hard to come up with examples or to explain his criticisms. When you ask for details about what he is saying he will often back down with an unproductive criticism.

All along, you emphasize that you value his opinion and want to understand his concerns. You say this as politely as possible. Eventually, he'll see that it's too much work to criticize you, because you always press him for more information. Information that he can't give.

This is the solution given. Or, this will give him fuel to further bury you into the ground. Hard to say how it’ll turn out. If you try it, let me know how it works for you.

You know where to find me.

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