The Disadvantages of Criticism


Don’t you despise it when others criticize you? I mean, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve become irritated by folks who are too critical of me.

The famous book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” explains how it may be excruciatingly unpleasant when someone harps on you, judges you, condemns you, disapproves of you, rejects you, or withdraws their trust in you. Not only can criticism erode your self-esteem, but it may also lead you to feel insulted by the criticizer and put on the defensive in order to explain your actions. 

The following are the three most significant downsides of blindly criticizing others:

1. Damages the pride of the other person

Allow me to tell you about one of my previous bosses, as this is an extreme scenario to demonstrate how damaging criticism can be: To pay the expenses when I first started college, I worked at Taco Bell. The store’s general manager was well-known for being one of the most critical and unfriendly bosses. He would demoralize us by criticizing our work in very inappropriate ways. For example, if we weren’t preparing Tacos quickly enough, he’d claim that his Grandma could outrun us. He would challenge our brain cell count if we didn’t know how to perform things. If we had to miss work, he would question our commitment to the team.

2. Engenders resentment

When we believe that someone is attempting to bring us down, we become resentful of that person. The only favorable thing you can hear (about your boss) is that he “ran a tight ship and achieved results.” When other people criticize us, it’s simple to get resentful and unconcerned with them. Anyone who seeks to devalue, deflate, or depress people will divert our attention away from what we truly desire: importance and approbation.

3. Putting others on the defensive

When we are attacked and have the courage to stand up to the critic, we are put on the defensive and are forced to defend our actions. The criticism, that’s so freely given, works to turn a business into a nasty and unsatisfying work environment. People will eventually stop caring and begin complaining and criticizing in return. If we are not cautious, the harsh critiques of others might persuade us to renounce our beliefs and respond with harsh judgments of our own. We must be cautious not to become like the unduly critical folks.

This article is part of our
Business Coaching blog series. At Dataczar we talk to a lot of small businesses. We’ve found a few books that we keep recommending time and again. To better help our customers, we’ve added a Reading List for Small Businesses to our website. We encourage every small business owner to read and keep these timeless business books on their office shelf.