Criticism Sucks! Three Ways to Be Better at It

If you’re in a managerial position, you may find yourself in the situation in which you need to give constructive criticism to employees. While constructive criticism is immensely helpful in guiding your employees to perform tasks the way you want, it can often be hard to deliver. Consider these tips on how to give constructive criticism.

1. Start the Interaction with a Compliment-

The whole point of constructive criticism is that you want your employee to change or modify their behavior to achieve a different result. It’s hard for a person to be receptive to any suggestion if they are on the defense, which is why you need to start the interaction with a compliment. Doing so will let the employee know you value them and their talents, which will make them that much more receptive to the criticism you’re about to deliver.

2. Deliver the Criticism as an Observation-

Delivering criticism as an observation as opposed to an accusation will keep the employee in the right frame of mind to be receptive to it. For example, there is a vast difference in tone if you say, “I noticed that you missed a few deadlines,” as opposed to “You never meet your deadlines.” Framing the criticism as an observation also shows that you care and have noticed it happening at least once, which makes them feel less accused and more part of a team.

3. Give a Helpful Suggestion-

If you don’t suggest a remedy or two about how to fix the issue, you’re not delivering constructive criticism – you’re just offering criticism. Take some time to come up with a few possible solutions before talking to the individual. This will make them feel like they have camaraderie with you and your conversation is less of a scolding and more of collaboration.

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