Having written hundreds of articles on a wide variety of subjects over the years, I have had my fair share of comments and criticisms from my readership. My articles are typically designed to engage discussion. You won't always agree with me, but I am trying to get people to think about things they normally overlook or take for granted. I have appreciated all of the feedback regarding my work, both pro and con. Compliments are flattering and appreciated but I also enjoy criticisms, to a point. If they are honest, articulate, and carefully thought-out, I enjoy them as much as the compliments. I learn from them. However, if they are vicious and aimed at character assassination, be it myself or someone else, they go directly to the recycle bin and the author loses all credibility with me.
I have one critic who I can regularly count on to try and refute everything I write about; if I say "black," you can count on him to say "white," regardless of the subject. At first I took him seriously, but when I noticed the frequency of his comments, I discovered he was only using my forum as a means to promote himself on the Internet. Consequently, I no longer engage in arguments with him and quietly remove his comments from my blog whenever they appear. If he wants a soapbox, let him write his own column and not piggyback on mine.
There are a few topics that will inevitably unleash a flurry of e-mails from readers; politics and religion are obvious ones, and trigger the most bloodthirsty responses. Attacking software developers is another. For some reason programmers feel free to criticize others, yet bitterly resent it when the shoe is on the other foot. I did an article on tattoos a few years ago which also triggered an avalanche of protest. The lesson here was when you discuss personal life choices, don't expect people to remain mum on the subject.
I find subjects such as management and morality doesn't seem to spark much discussion, maybe because people are not practicing either anymore. When it comes to the workplace, I believe people do not like to challenge the status quo and prefer to ignore controversy. Interesting. Perhaps people find it prudent to maintain a tight lip during these uncertain economic times.
I am a big proponent of constructive criticism, not destructive. Unfortunately, we see too many destructive comments thanks to the anonymity offered by the Internet. People will say things to you in a discussion group or an e-mail they would never dare say to you in person. These are the classless cowards of the Internet. I learned a long time ago you shouldn't criticize unless you are prepared to offer an alternative, particularly in business.
All of this being said, I appreciate the feedback you have all given me over the years and I review everything that comes in and try to respond the best as I can. Keep those cards and letters coming!
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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