How Iron Sharpens Iron

A true friend reminds you of your righteousness instead of your wretchedness. Iron sharpens iron. Truth. But how does this happen? I would suggest that it doesn't happen through criticism...primarily because most people don't know how to offer it.

"Mark, but...but..."

Hear me out for a moment. There is ALWAYS a way to say anything. Look up what the Proverbs say about a "word fitly spoken" and share your thoughts with me. Also, remember that it takes eleven sincere compliments to undo the damage of one criticism.

Therefore, let me share THREE ways to offer feedback that will more likely be received and EDIFY the hearer:

(1) Offer "feedback" instead of "constructive criticism" in every case. Just hearing the word "criticism" will make people grow tense. Instead say "May I offer you some feedback?" It's always feedback because feedback doesn't automatically lend a negative connotation to the situation.

(2) Never offer feedback without their permission. If they say "No" it is really okay. The world won't end. Maybe they don't want to hear what you have to say right now. They will live and so will you. Often your feedback hasn't been received well in the past because YOU needed to say it more than they needed to hear it. Get past yourself. If they don't give you permission to continue, don't. Simple as that.

(3) Sandwiches. This is an old technique that still works. Sandwich the feedback between sincere compliments. This is easy. Start with something positive they've accomplished, insert a way they can improve and close with a reinforcement of their value to you and their accomplishments. This reinforces that you're coming from a place of RELATIONSHIP with them and that you're not seeking to sever the relationship by way of your words.

People tend to gravitate towards their praise and grow more by way of positive expectations and reinforcements than from criticisms. It reminds of me a quote I heard from a Philadelphia sports fan who was overhead booing Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt. When asked why, he said "I'm trying to make him better!" How ridiculous to think a Hall of Fame Ballplayer was moved by his boos! I'll bet you a dollar the "great cloud of witnesses" is cheering you on... not waiting for you to stumble so they can point out your flaws.

To your success!

Mark Anthony McCray helps people live on PURPOSE, achieve higher PERFORMANCE and experience true PROSPERITY. Be sure to subscribe to this blog so you don't miss a thing and forward this to a friend if you found it helpful. All material © Copyright, Mark Anthony McCray unless otherwise noted!

He can be reached in the following ways:
Phone: 281-846-5720
Twitter: @LiveBIGDieEmpty

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Yes it is ridiculous to think that criticism will make a person better. It only brings bitterness and resentment but people do it all the time. I love the Message version of Proverbs 25:11-12, RIGHT words at the RIGHT time are key! And friendship should be about making us better without breeding anger and strife. Great message Mr. McCary. Looking forward to reading more :-). Be blessed!

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