Leading Employee Morale: Use Insights Not Criticism | #LeadMorale #Leadership

Leading employee morale requires many positive leadership behaviors. One not-so-positive behavior that seems to persist is giving criticism to employees. Many leaders cling to the myth that criticizing people makes them better and stronger. In truth, it shuts down their talents to avoid future criticism. However, if you use insights in leading employee morale (instead of criticism), employees learn, develop, grow stronger, hone their talents, and contribute fully.



Leading Employee Morale: Image is a pearl reflecting light.

Leading Employee Morale: Use Insights Not Criticism. Image by Webponce via Flicke Creative Commons License.

Image via Webponce via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Leading Employee Morale: Give Insights Instead of Criticism

Are you more insightful or critical with others? Sharing your insights with employees teaches and mentors without attacking, demeaning, or scarring. If you can help employees learn, correct mistakes, and grow without criticizing them then why do it?

Leaders criticize employees instead of sharing insights when they …

  • Are insecure and want power over employees. These leaders aren’t purely focused on teaching employees. They “want to teach them a lesson” as they old punishment saying goes. This hurts morale and performance.

  • Think that being harsh and critical toughens everyone up. What folly! It doesn’t toughen up employees. It shuts them — and morale — down. Sharing insights is far better that criticizing. People grow stronger as the learn.

  • Get frustrated if employees are not doing what they expect. If employees aren’t doing what you expect, don’t criticize them. Communicate better. This improves performance and morale.



  • And when …

  • Some employees make the same mistakes over and over. In this case you might be thinking, “Now it’s OK to criticize.” Yet criticism is shaming and blaming. It doesn’t unearth why they keep making the same mistake so you have solved nothing. Moreover, other employees are watching you. Your behavior turns them off. This hurts morale.

  • They don’t know the difference between giving insights vs. criticizing. Using insights starts with listening to what employees are thinking, understanding reasons for their actions, and sharing your knowledge and perspective. It moves everyone forward. Criticizing focuses on what’s been done and why it was wrong. It doesn’t help move everyone forward.


Examples of Criticizing

  • You were wrong.

  • You’re too slow. Get busy.

  • That shows your incompetence.

  • You’re not doing what I need done.

  • You are illogical.

  • You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • You’re always late and lazy when you’re here.


What to Say Instead

Examples of Being Insightful vs. Critical


Leading Employee Morale: Keys to Sharing Insights vs. Criticizing

  1. First ask yourself, will this move everyone forward or just state what’s happened? That’s a key difference between insights and criticism.

  2. Don’t generalize. Be specific about what needs to change going forward.

  3. Show employees how to use critical thinking but not be critical of others. Critical thinking analyzes and evaluates issues and situations to find solutions. This is big part of finding and sharing insights.

  4. Think about employee strengths and talents more often. You are more likely to share your insights vs. criticism when you respect and admire the employees.

  5. Turn your frustration in to curiosity. Instead of being frustrated and criticizing employees, be curious about what they doing and why. This leads everyone’s morale as you all uncover the possibilities for making things better.



Q: Which do you learn better from – insights or criticism? Does this affect your leading employee morale?


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Leadership Assumptions That Damage Morale & Performance
Leading Morale for Big Team Dreams
10 Ways to Ignite Greatness Without Leaving Scars
16 Easy-to-Fix Leading Morale Mistakes
7 Essential Leadership Steps to Leading Employee Morale

©2021 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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