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Do This and Win Every Time

By Col John Boggs

Col John BoggsThe great thing about the political season is watching and listening to the antics and superlatives that accompany each politician’s rallies. Amongst the silliness is a valuable lesson I would not want anyone in a leadership position to miss – learn the proper use of this lesson and your leadership capacity will increase exponentially.

What is the concept? In a word—CRITICISIM!

As a leader you should be aware that the quickest way to crush the enthusiasm and spirit of a team member, and eventually the entire team, is criticism. Everyone – you included – wants to feel important.

Criticism, regardless of the intent, treads on the desire to feel good about one’s self. The phrase “constructive criticism” is often anything but that. Yes, the person on the receiving end of that constructive criticism appears to be taking the critique in the spirit you intended, but in some cases, they might not be taking it well.

Those running for political office are great examples of the human inability to accept criticism. Pay particular attention to your candidate of choice, any will do, and listen to how they respond to criticism. In most instances, if not all, blame is shifted to someone else for the issue being criticized.  

My advice? Learn how to use praise and encouragement instead of criticism. Recognition, sincere recognition, will get more results from your team than any type of criticism.

Your team members will go through brick walls for the leader that seeks out opportunities to recognize them, singularly and collectively, for their accomplishments. However, there is a danger if you are not sincere or are recognizing less-than stellar achievement. The key to using recognition and encouragement is to withhold it as your statement of disapproval when the situation warrants. Giving recognition for showing up or just meeting the mark will diminish what you are working to achieve.

Charles Schwab once gave excellent advice on the use of praise. He said, “There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a man as criticisms from his superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a man incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise, but loath to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.” Schwab was considered one of the great business leaders of his time.

In order to lead effectively at any level, learn to appreciate the accomplishments of your team. Be their biggest fan, and in return, you will be pleasantly surprised with the rewarding results..

Colonel John Boggs U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.) works with outstanding leaders to leverage talent in order to dramatically improve performance and rapidly exceed goals. You can find him online at

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