Sadly, I all too often see criticism at work focus on the individual rather than their actions. While we contextualise our own actions, we generalise everyone else’s.
For example, I was late because my train was delayed, but you were late because you’re disorganised and don’t build in contingency. Or my report wasn’t 100% because I’ve got a lot on, but yours sucks because you have bad attention to detail.
Take that tendency to criticise the individual, and place it in the hands of leaders whose voices are always amplified through an organisation, and the consequences also become amplified. People quickly get a bad rep. Often in conversations they’re not even involved in. Because of a “failed” project, or a lost deal, or a website that doesn’t look the way we want it to, or, or, or…
When that happens, we start to lose the good that that person can do. They get frustrated. We micromanage them.
We need to remember that good people sometimes do bad things, and bad people sometimes do good things. And that people are rarely really just as good as their last gig.
And that as leaders our voices carry, and our leadership is a responsibility.