Criticism can be debilitating but in a Learning Organisation it needs to flourish if we are to avoid risking mediocre outcomes due to the fear of, or resistance to, it.
Criticism is defined as: "The practice of judging the merits and faults of something (or somebody) in an intelligible (or articulate) way"; which in itself does not denote that it is negative. However, the word has gained a reputation as a negative means of communication and is often something that is avoided by the receiver and abused by the giver.
However, to ensure that we can achieve excellence, both individually and collectively, we must make criticism an integral part of the dialogue of the organisation but, to do so, we need to learn how to give and receive it well.
The word Criticism probably won't even be used by the team but, in it's purest and most positive form, this is what will be happening and the Team will embrace this 'Gift' as a key driver of their performance. What will have happened is that everyone will have learned to be both the giver and receiver of criticism and, when giving, will be prepared not only to tell the other person why what they're are doing (or more accurately how the process is performing) is not good enough but will be prepared to help in solving the problem.
What will also happen is that the team members will gain a much higher appreciation of the work done by their colleagues and will also praise and learn from each other as part of the process.
In Lean Thinking terms, this is living Kata and the process of small coaching sessions against process performance is Kamishibai and are both oft overlooked elements of a Lean Management System but are essentially the 'glue' that holds it together and helps in the development of People: Which is what a Learning Organisation is all about and what the most successful organisations have achieved.
Whilst writing this article I came across one that I read by Dan Rockwell (the "Leadership Freak") providing some great advice on how to give Criticism like a Pro. I would definitely recommend reading it at this link.
"I aim to promote the global sharing of best practices in the application of Lean Thinking."