Situation 1: When I received an e-newsletter from a business associate recently, I read the beginning of one of his articles, then clicked on the link that said Read more. The link brought me to his blog, where I noticed that the article was five months old. Although the information was still useful, I felt let down by the stale date.
Should I tell my associate that presenting an old blog post as a fresh article in a newsletter makes it seem as though he has nothing new to say?
Situation 2: I received an email from a new human resources employee who now works at one of my longstanding client companies. Her email was sprinkled with obvious grammar errors.
Should I give her some advice about her errors, which make her seem less than professional?
What do you think? Should I share my wise criticism?
I could–but only if I want to alienate people and threaten good work relationships.
It is not our job to change other people or their behavior.
Well, it is our job if we are their manager. It may be our job if their less than stellar performance threatens our success or our company's. It is our job if their behavior is dangerous. And it is our job if they are children.
Otherwise, stay out of it.
The current issue of my e-newsletter, Better Writing at Work, features the article "Making Comments Without Making Enemies." If you would like to read it, subscribe at no cost here. Point 11, one of my favorites in the article, relates to the current topic:
11. Don't comment if it is not your job to do so and you have not been asked for an opinion. It is no one's responsibility to give constructive feedback to the world. Assume that if people have not asked for your comments, they do not want them.
Even if you feel compelled to share your expert opinion of another's website, blog, office decor, clothing, parenting skills, or thought process, don't do it! Your treatment for someone else's problem is likely to be a bitter pill they will not swallow no matter how expert your views are. If you are in a critical mood, focus instead on how you can improve your own skills, traits, appearance, productivity, world view, etc.
Have you learned any lessons in giving or getting unsolicited criticism? Please share them. I promise not to criticize!