To Move Forward — Be Constructively Critical (of Yourself)

We all like to think that we do things well — and a strong belief that we have the skills to succeed helps us in most workplace situations. However, there can be unwanted “glare” that can create a gap in self-knowledge. In fact, our own confidence can impede us from looking at our own behavior with a constructively critical eye.

Succumbing to bias concerning our own workplace strengths is an easy road to travel. Moreover, the areas that we value the most (and derive the most satisfaction) — can be the most heavily protected. As a result, we are less likely to look for opportunities to examine our skills critically. In fact, research has shown that we tend to view our own skills more positively than our peers see us. So it is possible to be unaware that a problem may be on the horizon.

Organizations that have enjoyed success, can blindly stop looking toward the future. People that have proven expertise, can also stop looking for avenues to grow. It is a looming weakness that we all should consider. It is important to realize that meeting our goals, does not ensure our continued competence. Only a keen eye and professional development, can help us stay in the groove.

So I’ll pose these questions:

  1. What skill (that you possess) do you personally value most at work?
  2. Do you consider yourself to be highly competent?
  3. Have you paused to critically examine your performance in this area recently?
  4. Can you identify a component of this skill set that could improve?
  5. How would you improve? What actions would you take?

I challenge you to look at your own skills critically and find a strategy to stay “skill healthy” longer-term.

What did you identify?

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist and workplace strategist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.

3 thoughts on “To Move Forward — Be Constructively Critical (of Yourself)

  1. From the darkest part of our self-doubt comes a light that will only shine if we look behind that curtain. Humility is an antidote for a lack of personal/professional growth. When we receive “it” with the intent to shine rather than defend, we are lifted to a place of true value, influence and significance. I am grateful for learning this lesson the “hard way.” …31 career years in the making!


  2. I identify a strategic gap. An employee may propose some talents but talents alone is not enough. If talent alone is enough, then why do you and i know highly talented people who are not highly successful?

    Liked by 1 person

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