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How to Offer Criticism Without Being Critical

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Today’s blog is about an important relationship-building tool. Learning how to offer criticism without being critical is important at work and home. It’s crucial for leaders and first-time managers.

It’s about understanding when to use your “active” voice and when to use your “passive” voice. It may sound simple, but it’s amazing how many times we get it wrong.

Today, we’ll quickly review active and passive voice, and offer some tips on how to use each one effectively.

Active voice
The subject of the sentence appears before the action. Stated more simply, the noun occurs before the verb. The active voice is often more direct and easier to follow.

For example, “You performed exceptionally well on this project.

Passive voice
The action appears in the sentence before the subject, if the subject appears at all. The verb comes first, the noun comes later.

So the example above, spoken in the passive voice would be, “This project was done exceptionally well by you.”

Note that this sentence actually sounds a little strange stated in the passive voice. That’s often the case.

Use the passive voice to offer criticism.
The passive voice has its uses. For example, which of the following two statements would you rather hear?

“You performed below expectations on this project”

“Expectations weren’t met on this project.”

The first example is in the active voice. So the focus is on “you”, not the “project”. The second example does the opposite – using the passive voice, it puts the focus on the project.

The second example sounds better on this go-around, doesn’t it? Can you picture yourself getting defensive with the first sentence? Probably so, because it screams, “You screwed up!”

So when you want to discuss anything negative, use your passive voice. You’ll find that your conversation is much more productive! They won’t feel backed into a corner. They feel more like you’re on their side. You’re not fixing the blame; you’re trying to fix the problem with their help.

Use the active voice to praise people.
Going back to our original example, we’ll bet you would feel great if your boss said, “You performed exceptionally well …”

Can you imagine how your performance would improve if your boss said something like that to you in front of all your co-workers? This is an incredible tool for managers to improve the morale of their troops.

So when you want to tell someone that they did something great, use your active voice. Put them first in your sentences. You’ll feel great because you’ll make them feel great!

Our BIGG quote today comes from Abraham Lincoln:
“He has a right to criticize, who has the heart to help.”

Actively accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives with your passive voice.

Next time, we’ll discuss how to deal with a difficult co-worker. Until then, here’s to your BIGG success!

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/biggsuccess/00128-050708.mp3

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Don’t Fear the Banker!

A lot of us are very uncomfortable talking about money, whether that means negotiating your salary, asking for a sale, or asking for a loan. So the thought of going to the bank to get a loan can be very intimidating.

The loan process seems somewhat mysterious. Wouldn’t it by nice to know where bankers are coming from? Then you would be better positioned to get the money you need.

3 things to understand about your banker

#1 – Banks can’t afford to lose money.
A lot of people don’t realize that banks operate on relatively thin profit margins. So, contrary to popular belief, they don’t make that much money on every loan.

The biggest question every banker has when looking at every loan proposal is …

Will we get paid back?

They’re more concerned about the return OF their investment than the return ON their investment. That comes later.

#2 – Banks don’t fund start-ups.

This is perhaps one of the biggest misperceptions in the business world. People think the bank is the best place to go for money they need to start a business.

To which we say, reread our first point! Bankers are relatively risk averse for the reasons stated above and more. So banks don’t tend to lend money to new, unproven firms.

You might be saying, “But I know people who got money to start their business from a bank.” Here’s the distinction – the bank wasn’t loaning money to their BUSINESS; they loaned them money as individuals FOR their business. If you look deeper, you’ll find that, in almost every case, they secured the loan with equity in their house or some other asset.

#3 – Banks need to lend money.
That’s their business. So if you need money, and you can prove that you can pay it back, and you have some assets to secure the loan, go to the bank with confidence!

Your bank is just like your favorite video store.
Video stores rent DVDs for a fee. Banks rent money for a fee. So going to the bank is just like renting a movie. You have to return the movie and pay a fee. And hey, unlike video stores, bankers don’t charge their fees upfront!

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Our bigg quote today is by the great Stephen Covey:

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Understand your banker’s needs so you stand to get your money needs. 

Next time, we’ll discuss how to offer criticism without being critical. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Related posts 

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(Image by svilen001)

BIGG Success Logo boxed

Don't Fear the Banker!

A lot of us are very uncomfortable talking about money, whether that means negotiating your salary, asking for a sale, or asking for a loan. So the thought of going to the bank to get a loan can be very intimidating.

The loan process seems somewhat mysterious. Wouldn’t it by nice to know where bankers are coming from? Then you would be better positioned to get the money you need.

3 things to understand about your banker

#1 – Banks can’t afford to lose money.
A lot of people don’t realize that banks operate on relatively thin profit margins. So, contrary to popular belief, they don’t make that much money on every loan.

The biggest question every banker has when looking at every loan proposal is …

Will we get paid back?

They’re more concerned about the return OF their investment than the return ON their investment. That comes later.

#2 – Banks don’t fund start-ups.

This is perhaps one of the biggest misperceptions in the business world. People think the bank is the best place to go for money they need to start a business.

To which we say, reread our first point! Bankers are relatively risk averse for the reasons stated above and more. So banks don’t tend to lend money to new, unproven firms.

You might be saying, “But I know people who got money to start their business from a bank.” Here’s the distinction – the bank wasn’t loaning money to their BUSINESS; they loaned them money as individuals FOR their business. If you look deeper, you’ll find that, in almost every case, they secured the loan with equity in their house or some other asset.

#3 – Banks need to lend money.
That’s their business. So if you need money, and you can prove that you can pay it back, and you have some assets to secure the loan, go to the bank with confidence!

Your bank is just like your favorite video store.
Video stores rent DVDs for a fee. Banks rent money for a fee. So going to the bank is just like renting a movie. You have to return the movie and pay a fee. And hey, unlike video stores, bankers don’t charge their fees upfront!

Click on our Comment link below to share your thoughts on today's post
Click on the Share This button below to Digg, Stumble, Mixx more

Our bigg quote today is by the great Stephen Covey:

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Understand your banker’s needs so you stand to get your money needs. 

Next time, we’ll discuss how to offer criticism without being critical. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Related posts 

219]

199]

160]

488]

329]

49]

(Image by svilen001)

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Make Your Daily Commute Productive

By Bigg Success Staff
02-26-08

Work – Life Balance

commute_traffic 

There’s something we really want to know. Why is it called “rush hour” when much of the time we “crawl”? 

Yes, the daily commute can be quite frustrating unless you look at it in a different way.

See it as your “do not disturb” time.

When you do that, your daily drive to and from work becomes your refuge!

We’re sure we don’t need to remind you that you shouldn’t drive and talk on your cell phone anyway! So why not escape into your own world? It’s uninterrupted time!

Before long, you might find yourself leaving a little early and driving behind the slow-poke! Because you want to spend more time in your safe harbor. Free from all the things that pull you in so many directions at once.

This is YOU time!

So what will you do with all this time? Here are seven suggestions:

#1 – Listen to audio podcasts.

There are so many great online shows now. Of course, we highly recommend The Bigg Success Show for a daily lesson and a laugh in five-minutes or so! (Subscribe in iTunes)

Probably the easiest way to find the plethora of options available is to go to iTunes. Pick an area you’re interested in and subscribe to the show!

#2 – Listen to audio books.
Drive time is an excellent time to “read” a book. All you have to do is listen! Of course, you can get a book that will improve your career skills. But why not expand yourself? Listen to the greatest works of all time!

The easiest way to do this is to have a book in mind. Just search Amazon for that audio book. Or you can do a general search for “audio books” and see what catches your fancy!

#3 – Take a course on CD.

Why just read a book? You can use this time to take an entire course! You’ll come away from every commute a little closer to being an expert on your chosen subject.

Do you plan to travel abroad sometime soon? Learn the language before you go!

#4 – Play some great music.
Music is good for the mind, heart, and soul. Expand yourself by listening to some of the great classics in all genres. Spend a few minutes on the weekend learning about the works you’ll listen to in the coming week.

What kind of music do you like? Learn what influenced your favorite kind of music and trace it back to its roots. Or think about what types of music have been influenced by what you love and trace it forward.

#5 – Listen to the radio.
Whether it’s terrestrial or satellite radio, you have so many options available. Mix it up. Don’t get stuck listening to the same station day after day. Choose a different one every day of the week! Get different points-of-view, listen to a variety of music, and expand your horizons!

#6 – Massage yourself.
If you get stuck in traffic, spend that time giving yourself a comforting massage. We won’t lie to you – it feels better when it’s done for you. But you can hit your pressure points so you feel more relaxed.

#7 – Exercise / stretch
Once again, if you get stuck in traffic, use that time to get in a little exercise, stretching, and deep breathing. Obviously, this won’t replace a trip to the gym, but it’s a bonus.

You can do some isometric exercises and certain stretches. While you’re doing it, breathe in and out deeply. Even if you just flex your muscles, you’ll feel better than if you just sit there waiting to go again!

More Work – Life Balance:

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(Image by mairabc, CC 2.0)

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How To Be A Terrible Boss

There’s an old saying that is supported by much research – people join companies; they leave their managers.With that in mind, we thought we’d share seven ways to drive your employees away.

George and Mary-Lynn are experts at driving people away. Listen to today’s show and you’ll find out why we say that!

#1 – Be indecisive.
Postpone making decisions. Send it to committee. Call in a consultant. Wait until you have ALL the information. Analyze EVERY alternative. There all kinds of ways to do this.

Instead of ready – aim – fire, you should get ready and then – aim – aim – aim …

#2 – Don’t let them know what you expect.
Don’t have a plan that you share with them. Don’t make goals or establish priorities. And don’t ever set a deadline. After all, if your people don’t know what you expect of them, they’ll never know how they’re doing. They’ll have to rely on you to tell them.

#3 – Be inaccessible.
Don’t spend too much time at the office. When you do, keep your door shut. Or, if you do keep it open, always look like you’re too busy to talk to any of your employees. They don’t have anything important to discuss anyway, right?

#4 – Be inflexible.

Always follow the rules, without exception. They’re not in place to provide a framework –they’re the law! Business must always come first – no matter what’s going on in your employees’ lives.

#5 – Be inconsistent.
What’s your mood today? Make decisions based on your emotions, not on the plan, policies, and precedents. Don’t treat all of your people all the same – show favoritism. Don’t worry about performance; take care of the people you like.

#6 – Make them feel unappreciated.
Don’t tell them when they do a good job. And when they don’t, criticize them in front of their peers. Oh, and don’t forget – be sure to openly discuss one employee’s faults with some other employee. That definitely will drive people away.

Quickly dismiss any ideas your employees have. Better yet, don’t even listen to them. And, whatever else you may do, don’t trust them with any major responsibilities.

# 7 – Don’t lead by example.
You should have one set of rules for you and another set of rules for your staff. They should do as you say, not as you do.

We need help – how can we keep from driving employees away?
Let us know by leaving a comment at the end of our blog.

Our Bigg Quote today comes from E.M. Kelly.

“The difference between a boss and a leader: a boss says, ‘Go!’ A leader says, ‘Let’s go!’”

So, if you want to drive your employees away, just keep driving them.

Next time, we’ll talk about how to reach your goals this week. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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