No one likes to give or receive criticism, but it is a reality of life. Whether the context is a personal relationship or a workplace association, constructive feedback done correctly provides awareness for learning and growth. The following four tips will help a person deliver criticism that works
Society has taught people to sugarcoat criticism to prevent hurt feelings. While this seems like the nice thing to do, it does not accomplish anything. A better approach is respectful bluntness. Offer to make an unpopular observation either by asking permission or finding a time when the other party is open to hearing it. An alternative method is offering an honest compliment first, followed by the constructive feedback.
General criticism is not an effective method of delivering feedback. The problem should be specifically stated and an example of it in action should be given. For example, if a person mishandles a situation with their team that results in poor productivity, that is the issue that should be addressed. It should not be cloaked inside of a vague complaint about not being a team player. This type of feedback should be delivered in private. The idea is to help the person succeed and achieve their goals, not feel humiliated in front of others.
The current job market is very competitive, and some may take constructive feedback as a threat to their job. This is why clarity is vital. When delivering a critical message, emphasize that the person is not in danger of being fired but must work on the issue at hand over a period of time. Give a reasonable timeline for changes and ask for updates on progress. The person should feel motivated rather than threatened in order to focus on improving. Be honest, but do not knock the person down over their shortcomings.
Kindness is honesty delivered with empathy. When discussing and resolving difficult topics, it is best practice to remember that the person is a human being with emotions, not just a warm body in the office. Being kind does not mean being nice, but it does mean being honest in a way that shows respect to the other person. Constructive feedback is not personal, rude and insulting.
Giving criticism is never easy. Following the tips above will ensure the right message is received.