Posted tagged ‘constructive criticism’

Fingers in our ears

September 7, 2011

Constructive criticism isn't found in the sand

We’ve all heard people criticising the council before. Whether it’s been through corporate complaints and members enquiries, through standing behind someone in a queue at a Council office or even just sitting at home listening to a friend or family member maon about the potholes in the road; criticism is everywhere.

This also isn’t restricted to ‘real world’ settings. Increasingly people are criticising councils digitally, through e-mails, Facebook postings and groups, Twitter, forums and other online spaces, people more than ever are telling us and the rest of the world what they think.

So what do we do with all this valuable feedback? Do we thank them for this information, even if it’s usually negative, and go about righting wrongs where possible and explaining our positions when not? Do we collect it all and analyse it in a darkened room, adding it to reams of resident survey findings and referring to it in reports?

Or do we pointedly ignore it, refusing to do anything unless prompted to directly and making sure that no online space provided by us has anything other than positive news on it?

I’ll give you one guess.

The overwhelming majority of councils in the experience of this blogger sadly seem to be making the final option presented there their preffered MO. Whilst individual officers may go out of their way to search out and collect this information in the full knowledge of how useful it may be, collectively as organisations we tend to take the ostrich approach instead. (more…)

Throw a little conflict into the mix

August 17, 2011

Conflict isn't always bad“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”  It’s not often that a quote from the renaissance man that is Eminem bears any relevance to life in local government, but this phrase rings true for many in local government.

We’ve spoken before about the difficulties of knowing when to stand up for yourself, when (to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln) you need to find somewhere solid to stand and plant your feet firmly and when a little more consensus and apathy might be a better course of action.

That being said, conflict in the workplace is a much maligned and misunderstood beast.  Most of us being flock animals are people who want to run with the crowd and who like to be liked.  Few revel in being hated and reviled, although most of us can put up with some mild dislike from time to time.  For the majority however it’s an easyish life we are after.

The underlying issue being avoided is that of conflict.  Most people labour under the impression that conflict is always negative, and are more than able to reel off countless examples of fights, arguments and disagreements which turned sour.  Whether personal or professional, all of this conflict has ended up creating a sense of negativity and disappointing outcomes.

What’s more difficult is to ask people to think of times when conflict has actually been helpful. (more…)