Criticism in Front of Colleagues

Criticism of an individual team member in the presence of the team is an accepted way in which Germans make that individual aware of a weakness or reoccuring error and request that it be addressed. Not only management, but also colleagues, are authorized – and expected – to voice open criticism, to point out what is not working. This kind of open criticism is not considered to be negative.

Open criticism of colleagues is considered negative, however, if it is not aimed at improving performance, but instead in gaining advantage within the team at the expense of that individual colleague.

rügen. To upbraid, to criticize, to admonish; to point out a weakness or failure; to set someone straight.

Jemanden zur Schnecke machen. Figuratively to make some into a snail. To complain to and about someone, to put down harshly, to set someone straight in a direct and harsh way.

Discretion. To hold something private, secret; to be entrusted; to be tactful, considerate, reserved; not pushy.

Pranger. Pillory. A stone column located in the middle of the village to which individuals are chained for a period of time as a form of punishment for a petty crime. Townspeople would often slap or hit them, throw trash at them, or otherwise humiliate them. To put someone on the Pranger means to criticize, even embarrass them in front of the organization.