Fifty Percent, More or Less, and the Workplace Critic

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fifty percent

Fifty Percent, More or Less, and the Workplace Critic

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We often fear what the critic will say, yet it seems that the critic really shouldn’t matter. George W. Bush and Barack Obama, both Presidents of the United States, both roughly had only about fifty percent approval ratings while in office.

What is your approval rating?

Approval Rating

When you work on the project, help the boss, or give a presentation to the board of directors, what is your approval rating?

Many employees tell me about the disappointment they face when receiving feedback from their boss. They suggest that the boss stresses the shortcomings, missed opportunities, or rework required – what they’ve done wrong. Yet, these setbacks, let downs, or failures, only represent about five percent or less of their total contribution.

Has the boss placed an inappropriate focus on the problems? Has the employee exaggerated about the amount of emphasis placed on shortcomings?

If we perform above expectations for ninety-five percent of our work, yet our conversations are eighty percent about the shortcomings what is the result?

It may be easy to get caught up in a downward spiral.

Fifty Percent

Perhaps the better question to ask is related to the quantity of critics. Most successful employees have an approval rating of far more than fifty percent.

What is your approval rating?

We can’t allow ourselves to get stuck on the comments of our critics.

Yes, they are always out there. Often lurking, watching, and waiting for a time to express their dissatisfaction, their anger, or even their jealousy and envy.

Yes, our boss may have some performance improvement feedback for us. Can you turn that into something constructive?

Critics may have a voice, yet they only control the next outcome if you allow them to do so.

Don’t let the critic become your inner voice.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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