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How To Handle The "Critic"​ On Your Team...

Have you ever been on a team with a "critic"? In other words, have you ever had to work with someone that thrived off of criticizing everything you did, every move you made, and every idea you ever had? 

How did it make you feel? What did it do to the environment you worked in? Notice how the energy shifted? The attitudes change?

Chances are 99.9% of you reading this email have been on a team or are currently on a team with that one super-hyper-critical team member. It’s a total buzz kill for the team, the clients, and the business. 

So, why do the "critics" do what they do? 

Well, there are numerous reasons, but I will share the with you the most common reasons....

  1. Their insecurities are so bad that it’s easier to knock someone else down than to face their own short-comings. It’s a build-up of their past experiences that have made them feel less than, not worthy enough, not good enough, or not valued enough. (most often, uncontrollable experiences or conditioning)

  2. They’re bored, not challenged, and certainly they don’t have enough things to do.

  3. Control issues. Control issues. Control issues.

  4. They question their current job status and their future on the team.

Overall, it's their low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and lack of congruency.

Most of the time, these “critics” are caught in a vicious cycle of “I’ll get you before you get me” thought process. They guard themselves, they disconnect from relationships with the team members and clients, and ultimately they are there to serve and protect ONLY themselves. 

This mindset shrinks their world, so they grasp for more control, and they continue to critique everyone from what they say, to what they wear, to what they do, to what they think, and so on.

So, how do you cope with a “critic”?

  • It depends on…Are they coachable? Willing to work on their “stuff”?

  • How much of a liability are they to the company? Or, can they be more of an asset?

  • Do they offer enough value to invest in their personal growth?

  • Are you willing to step in and help… and not enable?

You’ve got to decide if the “critics” on the team are a good match for the mission of the organization.  If yes, I would spend some time and energy on helping them help themselves

From an owner/leader perspective, try giving them tools to increase their confidence. Education in both personal and technical skill-set growth. Offer a mentorship program. Spend a little extra time with them. Most importantly, get to know who they really are. Listen and HEAR them. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute. Understand them from their position. It’s about identifying where they are at, so you know how to move them out of their unhealthy place of functioning.

It’s a physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental game. You DON’T have to fix them, but you can help them figure out how to fix themselves. It never hurts to bring them their favorite Starbucks drink as a special treat. (Even if you feel it wasn’t deserved…)

From a team member perspective, try connecting with them from a point of authentic interest. Learn more about them, their passions, their experiences, and their interests. From personal to business interests. Try killing them with kindness, consistently. Be supportive even when they aren’t at that place of reciprocity yet. Be genuine in your conversations. You’ll be amazed at how quickly that can transform your relationship with the “critic”.  You just have to be willing to do so with a little patience too. In the end, it’s so worth it. 

Generally speaking, the “critic” is starving for connections, relationships, positive communications, and general acknowledgement and acceptance. Just a little tweaking to the communications from the team to the “critic” can change the entire environment. You win, the team wins, the “critic” wins, and best of all…. Your clients win.

Yours In Success!


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