Leaders Address Hyper-Criticism During Conflict

“Yes, but that logic is flawed.”

“Have you even looked at the numbers going back 10 years? Why not use all the data instead of just the most recent?”

“We’ve never done that before, and even suggesting it is a waste of our time.”

“I can’t even read that font. How can I take you seriously when your slides are 12-point Comic Sans?”

Hyper-criticism is a strategy we use to make a point of objecting to as much about a person and their work as possible. We shoot down their suggestions, find holes in their logic, and scrutinize their output for mistakes.

This approach is particularly appealing when we recognize that the thing we’re actually frustrated by is petty, so we know that we can’t complain about it directly. Becoming hypercritical is a safer way of acting on our anger without having to admit that we’re really angry.

And yet, what you’re bothered by might not be as petty as you think. Healthy conflict around the issue may actually be helpful. So stop being hypercritical, and get to talking.

What to do?

Ask yourself, “How can I use plain language to simply and directly express my frustrations?”

When you witness hyper-criticism in others, ask:

“What is it that you want here? Instead of being critical, please share what it is that you’re hoping for; that would help us move forward.”

This is the 11th post in an 18-part series discussing what not to do during conflict situations. Effective leaders avoid portraying these 18 behaviors during conflict and address them in others. Follow along as we explore the negative impact of these behaviors, and what to do instead. 

Post 1: Leaders Address Arguing During Conflict
Post 2: Leaders Address Belittling During Conflict
Post 3: Leaders Address Caving In During Conflict
Post 4: Leaders Address Being Defensive During Conflict   
Post 5: Leaders Address Dismissing Others’ Opinions During Conflict 
Post 6: Leaders Address Drama During Conflict
Post 7: Leaders Address Exaggerating During Conflict 
Post 8: Leaders Address Exclusion During Conflict
Post 9: Leaders Address Finger-Pointing During Conflict

Post 10: Leaders Address Gossiping During Conflict

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