It is difficult to balance respect and criticism. Many might fall into a trap of silence in an attempt to show respect. In our efforts to avoid condemning others we must not forget that continuous improvement dawns from questioning attitudes. It is imperative that we focus our questions on the reasoning process instead of upon the ideas themselves. When we attack ideas, we attack the individual. This leads to destructive arguing. No one wants to be told that their idea is wrong. By focusing on the reasoning process we avoid attacking the individual, we rather show keen interest in how they have reached this conclusion. Often times this activity leads to a fruitful discussion in which the originator discovers flaws and offers improvements voluntarily during the explanation.
As a leader it is crucial that we master moderation in group problem solving sessions. We drive the discussion in a constructive manner. By centering the discussion upon the solution to a problem we keep the team aligned. When things start side tracking on unrelated topics, which happens often, we must have the constitution to redirect things back to solving the problem at hand. We walk upon the balance beam of arguments and constructive criticism when leading aggressive groups to solve problems. Training our team before hand on the 'how' of conducting fruitful problem solving sessions is important. We must iterate to the team that we are focused on solving problems, not demeaning ideas. We show mutual respect and achieve mutual benefit. Asking why is demanded, while pointing out what is not important.
Constructive criticism is not arguing or attacking. It is simply applying logic to another's point of view in order to find and correct all weaknesses therein. Degrading into argument is the epitome of closed minds and egos. We care more about saving face than solving problems. It is failing to see the other side, while blindly and emphatically defending our own. Who really wins arguments anyway? How do we walk away feeling after a heated argument? Content? Satisfied? Looking forward to the next chance? We can avoid arguments by focusing on solutions and the reasoning process instead of on who wins or who loses. Recall the most recent argument with a loved one? Who really won?
Copyright © Robert Clinton Chedester 2012