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Thursday, 04 September 2014 13:20

Nine Insights to Providing Constructive Criticism

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Criticism is often unpleasant. That is one reason we use the term “constructive criticism”. The point is to provide feedback to another person in a way that highlights the concern, but also comes across in a positive light. You want the discussion to improve the performance of the other individual – not tear them down. Providing criticism so that it is constructive is a difficult task. However, it can be done if certain steps are taken.
  • Give importance to relationships. Whether it is a manager criticizing a staff member or a colleague criticizing his peer, it is important to have some type of relationship. If you have built these personal relationships over time, the constructive feedback will be easier to give and to receive.
  • Examine assumptions. Most people involved in an issue assume that they are right and others are wrong. They take it upon themselves to correct others. The other party may assume the criticism is uncalled for. First make sure you are clear as to the concerns, and that you do not have any negative assumptions or biases.
  • Provide examples. You need to point to specific instances where you observed the negative behavior. The person receiving feedback will want these examples and if you cannot provide them your criticism can lose its value.
  • Relax and focus. While delivering criticism, you may be nervous which could result in ineffective delivery of constructive criticism. By remaining calm, one can look at the issue from a proper perspective and stay focused.
  • Focus on the behavior – not the person. Even very good people can act in a way that you feel is inappropriate. Make sure when you offer constrictive criticism that you focus on the behavior to correct – not the person. You have a chance to change behavior, but if you focus on the person it will be much more difficult for the constructive feedback to be accepted.
  • Articulate clearly. Constructive criticism becomes effective only when it is clear.
  • Question and listen. Asking relevant questions clears up any misunderstandings and gives a better understanding of the situation.
  • Convey criticism respectfully. You cannot give criticism in a way that does not respect the person. Be sure to listen openly and be sure the environment is conducive. For example, you don’t want to criticize someone in public around peers.
  • Focus on positive and negative aspects. Staff often feel that they are criticized more often than they are praised. So, before providing criticism, managers can make a list of the staff member’s positive attributes. By conveying appreciation of the staff member, the employer can avoid seeming too harsh when offering up a criticism.
Part of your job as a manager is to evaluate the work of your subordinates. They are not going to be perfect. You need to recognize when actions and behaviors are not appropriate, and provide feedback in a way to help the person in the future. This is constructive criticism.

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Read 5815 times Last modified on Thursday, 04 September 2014 13:27
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