Dale Carnegie who wrote the book on personal relations, as in his classic, How To Win Friends and Influence People, said Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. Most fools can and…do.
The late Christian motivator Zig Ziglar said they’ve never built a statue to a critic.
He also said, “We must point out the good as well as the things that people do wrong. Instead, we too often get involved in the terrible game of ‘Gotcha!’ The manager jumps on the employee with both feet. Like a cheap suit or an ugly rash, he’s all over him! One little mistake and ‘Gotcha!’ That is unwise and unfair and is devastating in its impact on productivity.”
Eisenhower said “You do not lead by hitting people over the head---that’s assault, not leadership.”
Somebody once said that praising others (sincerely, not flattery) is like making deposits in a checking account. Criticizing others (even constructively) is like making a withdrawal. But too many of us are overdrawn and bouncing checks all over the place.
The need to think before we speak is even greater in our day of a 24/7 news cycle…in a day of Twitter, Facebook, email, and social media…nothing said can be taken back.
Just a couple months ago, a high level public relations executive sent out a thoughtless and derogatory tweet, which was a poor attempt at a joke, and it was racist. Then she boarded a flight in London and flew to Cape Town, South Africa.
During the 12 hours of that flight, she was offline and didn’t know that the digital universe was exploding below. By the time she landed, she not only found how she had offended many people, she also found out that she had been fired. She apologized profusely, but it was too late.
So put a guard around your tongue. For others’ sake and your own. As the famous old saying goes, “It is better to be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.”