How often have we found ourselves in a situation where we began evaluating the way another person is accomplishing an activity and saying to ourselves or others, I can do this more efficiently? I felt that way this week as I did some volunteer work and I was tempted to tell the leader of the volunteer organization that I had a better way to manage the activity, but I let it go. I often find myself thinking about how to improve processes because in my retail job I have worked for years to eliminate redundancy and speed up productivity. What I didn’t realize until I started doing volunteer work that when I criticize others for the process they have implemented, I am taking away a little of their self-confidence and making them less accountable for the results of their practice.
Dale Carnegie’s first human relations principle in becoming a friendlier person is, “don’t criticize, condemn or complain.” When we criticize another person, not only does it damage that person’s reputation, the words put a dent in our reputation.
Rather than criticizing the other person’s process, we might reframe the situation and look at the process from their perspective. Perhaps there is a reason for the way he/she wants the process completed and we need to understand it. Asking why we should do things a certain way is a great way to start a good conversation. If we find that we are still in disagreement, a suggestion for a change in the approach should be made gently and privately. Using this process allows both parties to save face and rather than creating an enemy, you may make a new friend!