Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Dealing With Criticism

How to make criticism constructive not destructive

criticismDealing with criticism can be tricky. Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end you’ll need to choose your words carefully. What you say, and how you say it, can mean the difference between improved performance and bitter resentment.

While giving criticism is probably not high on your list of favorites, there are times when you’ll need to give someone on your staff a nudge in the right direction. One of the keys to getting the results you want is to make your remarks more palatable.

How can you make criticism easier to digest? First, begin with something positive. Often the reverse happens. After going though a laundry list of complains, we tack a compliment on at the end. Almost as an afterthought.

Next time, make a conscious effort to switch the order. Before you discuss the person’s faults try mentioning something positive. For example, maybe the report wasn’t as in-depth as you expected. Focus on the good points. Was it well organized? Was it turned in on time? If you continually find yourself searching for something positive to say you may have another problem to deal with.

Whether you’re at home or the office, try these techniques the next time you need to dole out some disapproval:

  • Own your remarks with “I” statements. For example, instead of saying, “You need to let me know what’s going on,” try “I need you to update me more often, once a week if possible.” Think about it. When someone begins a discussion with “you didn’t,” “you have to” we immediately feel like we’re being attacked. And our response is to become defensive.
  • Be sure to focus on specifics. Try to concentrate on the behavior, not the person. For example, instead of saying, “You made me late by handing in your work late again,” try, “I need to have your report on time so I can complete my part of the project on time”
  • Avoid using Always and Never. When you hear yourself saying, “you never . . .” stop. It’s one of the surest ways to create bad feelings.

When you find yourself on the receiving end:

  • Ask for specifics, “Which part of the report didn’t you like?” “What didn’t you like about the way I handled that situation?” Continue asking for specifics until you understand what the other person is really saying.
  • Own your mistakes. If someone calls you on being late again (and you are), agree and apologize. While this sounds simple, it’s not easy. However, you may be surprised how much respect admitting your mistakes will garner. Just be sure to work on changing your behavior as well.

While it’s not something we look forward to, giving and getting criticism is a part of life. Avoid developing a reputation as the bearer of bad news by never passing up the opportunity to bestow a compliment. For the best results keep it SSIP: Simple, Sincere, Immediate and Personal. You may find that increasing the amount of positive feedback reduces the need for criticism.

About Annette Richmond, MA

Annette Richmond, MA, CARW, CCELW, is a Certified Resume Writer, Certified LinkedIn Profile Writer, and former recruiter. Her career advice has been featured by Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Business Insider, Monster, Vault, and WSJ. She helps motivated, senior level professionals tell their unique career story. She also serves as executive editor of career-intelligence.com.


Follow on Twitter Connect on Facebook View all Posts Visit Website

You must be logged in to post a comment Login