Accidents and Criticism

When someone drops a dish or spills a drink, people often yell in response: “Why did you need that!!?” Or they gasp with anger: “I can’t believe you did that!!”

How shortsighted.

There is no reason to criticize an accident because it’s not a mistake to be corrected. If criticism is meant to improve people, it doesn’t work with accidents. How are they to learn from something they didn’t consciously do?

Criticism is effective when given to intentional acts. People can take feedback from what they decided previously and adjust for the future.

Criticizing accidents, outcomes that the actors did not want to happen, is unhelpful and makes people feel small. This criticism isn’t helpful, it’s egotistical. Be wary of the effect your remarks have, both in the feelings in the moment and the actions in the future. It’s often far more about the former, but the latter is what matters more. Feedback and criticism are meant to help people, not make them feel belittled.

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