Delivering Constructive Criticism
Constructive criticism is an essential aspect of personal and professional development. However, giving it might not be easy, especially at work. Doing incorrectly can harm relationships, lower morale, and slow down productivity. As a result, it is critical to learn how to provide effective constructive criticism.
Entrepreneur Raphael Avraham Sternberg recommends ways professionals can deliver helpful feedback without producing more stress, resentment, or conflict.
Begin with an optimistic thought.
One smart technique to give constructive feedback is to start with something positive. This helps to set a positive tone and makes the individual receiving feedback more receptive. For instance, instead of saying, “Your report was bad,” one can respond, “but thank you for turning it in. I appreciate the time and effort you put into it.”
While providing constructive comments, it is critical to be specific about what needs to be corrected. Uncertain feedback might lead to bewilderment and rage. Sternberg recommends focusing on specific actions or behaviors that need to change. For example, instead of saying, “Your work needs to be better,” you may say, “Your work would benefit from more attention to detail, especially regarding formatting.”
Consider what they do rather than who they are.
While providing constructive criticism, focusing on the behavior rather than the person is critical. Sternberg advises against making personal assaults or discussing the person’s character. Instead, professionals should be neutral and not judge when delivering comments. Instead of saying, “You are lazy,” you may add, “The work you submitted was incomplete, and the deadline was missed.”
Assist in the resolution of problems.
It is critical to offer answers or ideas while providing constructive criticism. Giving alternatives not only assists the person you are critiquing in determining how to improve but also demonstrates that you care about their achievement. Sternberg proposes providing individual steps to take in order to go forward. Instead of saying, “Your communication skills need improvement,” you could say, “Consider taking a communication course or practicing active listening during team meetings.”
While providing constructive criticism, it is critical to listen truly. Paying attention to what the other person says, acknowledging their feelings, and answering their inquiries are all examples of active listening. Sternberg advises listening to and allowing others to express their thoughts and feelings. For instance, suppose the other person answers, “I think I did my best with the report,” you can say, “and I know you worked hard. However, I noted that the formatting was not consistent throughout.”
When it comes to providing constructive critique, timing is important. It is critical to provide feedback as soon as feasible after the conduct. This allows the individual receiving the information to realize how their actions impacted others and take immediate action to correct the problem. According to Sternberg, you should not wait until a performance review or until the problem persists. For example, you can provide feedback on a report before the quarterly review. You may do so as soon as the report is submitted.
To summarize, according to Raphael Avraham Sternberg, it can be difficult to provide constructive criticism, but it is necessary for personal and professional development. It is critical to begin with a positive phrase, to be specific, to focus on the behavior, to provide solutions, to listen attentively, and to be on time. Professionals can use these methods to provide constructive criticism without harming relationships, weakening morale, or slowing down productivity.