How To Give Constructive Criticism

by | Jun 24, 2020 | Navigating Adulting | 2 comments

I hate, wait. I ABSOLUTELY hate being corrected during the people. This is something the people who raised me, the people who taught me, and those that were around me never picked up. I feel attacked and I crumble. Even if your words are real and true that is not what I hear, the embarrassment that I feel does not allow me to accept your words. I start to resent you as a person. Hey, you just learnt something about me!

There are many of us who are like this and because you can never tell who falls under this category it is important to be careful. If you are in charge of a team at your workplace, to keep your team intact you need to handle this particular issue with care.

  1. Keep it private. Call the person to a secluded space instead of addressing them in front of people. They could easily confuse your criticism for embarrassment. It may kill their confidence in whatever it is that they were doing. I remember a choir director who called me out in front of the entire choir and yelled from the other end of the room. I wanted the ground to swallow me and what happened is because I wanted to cry I kept choking. I did not attend practice for two weeks.
  2. Be specific. Explain to them what exactly they need to pay attention to or to improve. This helps them to take notes and work specifically on that. If there is more than one issue, address them one at a time. If possible give examples (avoid using other workmates) or a small presentation, this way they leave feeling informed.
  3. Watch your tone. Use a calm voice so they know you are not attacking them but rather pointing them in the right direction. If you have already had a bad day, avoid this task as your voice may be stressed out already and send the wrong message.
  4. Do not make it personal. Do not attack the person otherwise, the results of the entire exercise will be negative. They will leave the room and carry hate instead of knowledge.
  5. Provide improvement tips. Do not just point out their wrongs, give them advice on how to improve. It makes for better reviewing on your next meeting.
  6. Allow dialogue. Talk to the person, not at them, they feel more involved and can ask questions easily. Chances are you could learn from each other.

This is how we should be doing this, with love. I love sharing stories and listening to them too, how did you learn you are not great at taking criticism in front of people? CIAO!