Our Corporate Life
October 4, 2011   •   Volume 2, Issue 20   •   ISSN: 2154-3240    
In This Issue
♦   Feature Article: The Role of Criticism
Ask Amanda: How do I deal with a popular, high-performing “class clown” whose behavior undermines my authority?
♦   Practical Tips: Artificial Limitations
The Role of Criticism

Our culture is quick to criticize and judge. Think about how most people talk about reality shows the next day at work. The discussion usually focuses on criticizing and comparing to others—understandable because often these shows are set up to encourage that type of behavior. The difficulty arises when criticism becomes a habit—it becomes your “go to” response to new ideas and opportunities, particularly in the workplace.

Criticism plays a very important role at work. It helps us evaluate ideas, think through rationales, and determine our best course of action by testing assumptions, logic, and likely implications. But when we habitually criticize, we create an environment where people worry about being judged. In such a setting, people will edit themselves and their ideas; this limits the value they can add and it negatively affects your team’s work.
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Thought to Ponder

Provide support without encouraging dependence.

Practical Tips: Artificial Limitations

Most of us place artificial limitations on ourselves and our options, and it’s a serious yet often overlooked thinking trap. It’s natural to surround yourself with like-minded people whose assumptions are similar to your own. However, when brainstorming, you need to have your assumptions challenged in order to stretch your thinking. Some commonly held career assumptions are:

  • Making a good salary/being successful and having a decent work/life balance are mutually exclusive
  • Moving into a new industry or sector will require major sacrifices (eg, retraining, less salary, taking steps “backward,” etc.)
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 ask Amanda

I have a good performer who acts like a "class clown" in team meetings. He's always cracking jokes, making faces, eye-rolling…and I must admit, he's funny. But it's getting in the way and undermining my authority. How do I deal with this popular guy? T.S., Augusta, ME

Amanda Mitchell

This is a delicate situation because you want to modify his behavior without coming off as heavy-handed. People do what works for them and the attention he’s currently getting probably is rewarding. It’s also possible that he is bored and entertaining others is his way of staying engaged. You need to find out what’s behind his behavior in order to know how to rectify it.
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About Us: Our Corporate Life LLC (OCL) is a company that offers a new system for reducing unnecessary workplace suffering caused by the organizational, interpersonal, and ethical issues of our time. It is founded on the belief that adhering to core human values and achieving business success are always compatible. Working with both companies and individuals, OCL helps create solutions that enable corporate employees at every level to optimize profits while enabling them to thrive in the corporate environment. OCL was founded by Amanda Mitchell to help meet the needs of people working in corporate America during this transformative moment in our nation's history. The OCL system reflects her experience and insight gained from a 20–year corporate career working with Fortune 500 companies, and as an executive coach to senior–level corporate executives. Our Corporate Life
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