No one likes being criticized, that’s for sure. Still, criticism doesn’t necessarily mean that the person who is providing it has a problem with you or wants to make you feel bad. On the contrary, a lot of people offer constructive criticism precisely because they see the potential in someone and want to help that person evolve by pointing out the things that would be worth improving. If you want to find a way to incorporate constructive criticism in your feedbacks without your employees taking it personally, read on!
How to Provide Constructive Criticism
1. Don’t Criticize the Person
The first thing that you should know about offering constructive criticism is that you shouldn’t make it sound like it’s about the person standing in front of you. Instead, focus on identifying what’s wrong with the situation and what could be done to improve it. For example, instead of saying “You didn’t manage to get your point across in your presentation” you can say “I’ve noticed that the presentation lacked some points that would have made things clearer for the audience”. This way, what you’re criticizing is the situation, not the person receiving constructive criticism.
2. Only Focus on Things That Can Be Improved
The main aim of constructive criticism is to help the other person improve their skills. Which is why it makes no sense to reference things which are outside of that person’s control. This will feel like a personal attack and will only make the other person feel bad. If you really want to make a difference in that person’s life, think of things that him or her can change.
3. Include Recommendations
Simply stating what you didn’t think was right can be useful in some cases. However, most of the time, it’s better if you also recommend some solutions to the problem. This won’t only provide the other person with a starting point to improve. It will also make the critique feel like less of a critique and more of a suggestion.
4. Find the Right Time
While there’s nothing wrong with providing someone with constructive criticism, that doesn’t mean that there’s always the right time for that. For instance, if someone just finished a presentation that you think could have been better, don’t start criticizing it the moment that person is done with it. That would be destructive criticism. Wait for a more appropriate time, when you two are alone and you can effectively get your message across.
5. Have a Conversation
Whenever you’re offering feedback to someone, it’s important to have an open conversation with that person. Don’t simply state your ideas and then expect the other person to internalize them and find a way to improve. Encourage people to state their point of view. Then, have a conversation related to what might have led to these less favorable results and what they could do to avoid this happening in the future. You’d be surprised how many ideas can be born from an honest conversation.
It’s not always easy to give constructive criticism in the workplace. But with these 5 tips, you can ensure that your critique will be welcomed and useful to the other person.
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