Constructive Criticism

Constructive Criticism

Article_4_image_(2)Too often when we criticise we cause offence because our criticism is couched in hostile, nagging or accusing terms. Most people deserve a second or third chance so if you must criticise, make sure you do it in a way that motivates rather than offends.

Before you even attempt to discuss another person’s failings there are four important questions that you should ask yourself. Do you have your facts straight? What do you hope to achieve? What are the pros and cons of airing the problem? How would you handle the criticism if it were directed at you?

If you decide you are justified in making the criticism, it’s important to wait until the right moment before airing it, because there is little to be gained from humiliating someone in front of others or adding to their woes if they are already upset.

Keep in mind that your goal is to motivate so choose your words carefully and avoid dwelling on negative points. Give the person the opportunity to explain their actions and try to understand the thoughts behind their decision, rather than preaching to them what you would have done in their situation.

An important part of constructive criticism is to be specific and positive about how the person can learn from the experience. Instead of telling them, try to get them to suggest ways that they can improve, because the lessons that stick longest in our memory are the ones we learn ourselves.

Accepting criticism
You’ve mastered the art of criticising without causing offence, now turn the tables – can you accept criticism when it is leveled at you?

The first and most important tip to remember is not to take it personally. Really listen to what the person has to say rather than getting your hackles up and blocking out their message.

It pays to try and stay neutral when receiving criticism and give yourself time to think about what has been said rather than reacting immediately. Ask yourself if there is any truth in what they are saying, than learn from it and move on.