Self-criticism is the spontaneous personal attitude that drives the amendment of dysfunctional actions in a way that strengthens the personal relationships, builds social capital and drives learning.
It needs to be sustained by the capacity of laughing at oneself, which allows sustaining the self-esteem of the people involved.
It is required that self-criticism be a private action that is not shared with others. This private action is driven by a real need to amend the actions paying the price to do so. The capacity of laughing at oneself is the way to overcome the frustrations of dysfunctional actions.
Self-criticism is the price individuals pay to learn from their own experiences. Paradoxically, it makes individuals fully reliable and therefore, it empowers the development of personal relationships and builds social capital.
Individuals who need to confirm their position use an apparent self-criticism to increase their reliability, but without needing to repair. As soon as self-criticism is shared with others, it is transformed into an anti-self-criticism that looks for self-confirmation and does not develop damage-repairing actions.
The paradox of self-criticism is that most of the people think that if they share their self-criticism, they will earn more credibility, but they are not aware that in fact they are developing a mechanism that justifies their dysfunctional actions without amending them. While they apologize for the problems they have caused, they try to avoid the need to amend the dysfunctional actions.
It has to be considered that amendment implies truly regretting what has been done. It requires substituting what has been damaged, developing actions for the common good that expand the boundaries of the value that should have been added.
Anti-self-criticism avoids the cost of amendments, apologizing for what has happened.
The Context of Self-Criticism
The context defines the possibility of self-criticism. It has to be considered that self-criticism is a characteristic of all successful leaders. It is said that “man is the only animal that trips twice over the same stone”. This happens when individuals do not have the necessary sense of humor to laugh at themselves or when the context of self-esteem and empathy is not given.
Self-esteem defines the wide context of self-criticism. This implies that self-esteem establishes the basic condition to develop self-criticism since it is driven by the capacity to develop a solution thinking approach. Solution thinking is sustained by the functionality of the skills individuals have and the functionality of their knowledge.
Introjective empathy can work either as a catalyst or as an inhibitor for self-criticism. Self-criticism is inhibited when individuals cannot introject the roles of the people they are working with. This introjection allows understanding the consequences of the dysfunctional actions that were produced and define the way to amend the problems produced.
The Functionality of Self-Criticism in Teamwork
The objective of self-criticism is driven by the need to empower teamwork and build synergy while the individual learns from her/his dysfunctional actions.
The learning process is based on achieving the functional knowledge that would have avoided the problem that has been generated. This is done by exposing oneself to solve the problem and be able to introject the actions that are needed to build the solutions in order to store them in the long-term memory.
The empowerment of teamwork is based, on the one hand, on developing the necessary supplementary actions to sustain the strengths of a group and, on the other hand, on developing the complementary actions to compensate its weaknesses. This drives naturally towards empowering the value that needs to be generated.
The functionality of self-criticism is sustained by synergy building, which is based on empowering the relationship with the people involved, developing the social capital with the environment and improving the level of knowledge.
The Unicist Research Institute