How To Give Constructive Criticism

There is a definite art of criticizing others. If you want your criticism to yield positive results, observe these rules

In any leadership role how you give feedback is critical. To be effective in how we discipline or colleagues tact should be employed in teaching. The person at the receiving end should not feel punished or denigrated.

Often how we say things is just as important as what we are saying.

Discipline that uses shame, guilt or fear weakens people. Discipline that uses reason teaches and improves them.

It is important to ascertain what is causing a situation that warrants criticism.

When we use this approach, we are focusing on the action and leaving character and intent alone.

There is a definite art of criticizing others. If you want your criticism to yield positive results, observe these rules:

Establish a comfort zone

Before you launch off into your criticism ensure that the person whom you are giving the feedback is comfortable with it. If he or she is not comfortable then they will not apply it practically and the feedback will become unproductive.

Try and say the thing in such a manner that the person gets the message and is motivated to improve his performance and attitude without feeling ostracised.

Collect all the information

Ask the person pointedly what they think went wrong, instead of playing the blame game. Then alone can you appraise and address the situation fairly. Identify the behaviour or activity which needs a mention. Tell the person what he/she did that requires appreciation. Give details about the person and your observation of the work or activity which you liked.

Keep your calm

If you create an environment of collaboration, make the person your ally and approach the situation with a “let’s find a solution together” attitude then he or she will respond in kind. If they perceive your criticism as an attack then the outcome will be poorly.

Use the sandwich approach

Try to commend people before you give your feedback and follow it with a pat on the back. That way, you take the sting out of what is to follow.

That way you subtly suggest that you recognize his error as merely a departure from the norm—his customary high caliber performance.

Keep it specific

Being abstract and random when giving feedback does not yield positive results. Identify the area and point out what you exactly want. When someone has done a good job don’t just say that, spell out what they did right and what they did wrong. Make sure he understands every aspect of what you require and desire. Make them feel that you are also there to help and guide to success.

Give your feedback immediately

Do not take too long to give your views on someone’s performance. If a person works in a way and receives a late feedback, it may be difficult for him to make the necessary modifications, or he may even forget that thing over a period of time. When the things still remain fresh in the mind.

Don’t be hurtful or disrespectful

There are two ways of dealing with something one is bluntly and brusquely, the other is with kindness. Be careful not to hurt the sentiments of others. To avoid this, one can start by asking the person what and how much he understands a particular, work, situation or thing. And then tell him politely where he lacks and how he can improve them. Tell him about his positive assets and how they can be helpful to him.

Appreciate the impact

Tell your positive feedback from employees or colleagues, how their performance and contribution has resulted in bringing about positive change in your life, inspired other co-workers or how it has benefited the organisation as a whole.

Convey gratitude

Be candid when giving someone constructive criticism. Being gratuitous towards other people helps create and foster inroads for future communication. Always remember to thank the person for his efforts and attitude, and let him know that you would expect the same type of dedication, motivation and positive performance from him in the future also.

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