What’s the best way to give criticism?

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A Buddhist response – Before offering criticism, consider your intentions. It’s easy for ulterior motives to color the feedback you give. How are you entering the conversations? With judgment? A desire to control. Are you hoping to intimidate -or to encourage? The buddha said to ask yourself three questions before speaking 1) Is it true ? 2) is it necessary 3) is it kind? I interpret kindness in this case as constructiveness’ you heart is in the right place and you do actually want to shed light on something to help the other person grow or improve, then that’s the right reason. The truth can hurt – but sometime the most loving, wise consciousness act is to let one feel the sting rather than avoid it. Lastly realize that you can give the best, kindest feedback in the world and have it rejected. That’s OK. You give what you can, give it with love, and the rest is up to the recipient.

A career coach response- We often assume that when we draw attention to what someone has done wrong, they will know how to fix it. This is not always the case. Don’t go into feedback-oriented discussion without having some concreate improvement strategies for the other person. Timing is important, too – so be mindful of whether you’re giving advice perhaps too soon (say moments after a big presentation when the speaker may be most vulnerable to criticism. )Allow a day to pass but not much more, or else in some cases the issue may gather to much importance and become weightier than it needs to be. Despite it all, no matter what you or when, the other person may get upset.

A writing Instructors responds – Start with that the other person has done right, not wrong and acknowledge the things that are working. Then move on to what isn’t effective and explain not only why it’s not, but how it could be better. I always make sure to give my students reasons, resources and models of excellence. This changes the tenor of the conversation, and communicates that I am invested in their success.

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5 Responses to What’s the best way to give criticism?

  1. Gail says:

    I agree with the career coach response: “We often assume that when we draw attention to what someone has done wrong, they will know how to fix it.”

    Criticism does more harm than good unless accompanied with an approach to resolve the issue. If you are going to provide constructive criticism, the onus is on you to offer a solution as well. For example, if your employee led a poor presentation, arrange a public speaking class. If they sent an inappropriate email, arm them with business writing skills. Otherwise, criticism is counterproductive, leaving the recipient to feel embarrassed and incompetent because they don’t know how to correct the problem. Those are the employees that leave to find a place where they are appreciated for their strengths rather than criticized without support.

    Essentially, don’t tell me what I’m doing wrong. Take action to help me do it better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • msw blog says:

      I agree with you. It is always most effective for me when individuals were positive and constructive and when they provided possible solutions instead of just telling me about problems. In other words, paint the picture for me of what your desired change would look like and how I could go about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ashok says:

    Good one. The so called Buddha approach is ideal.
    But I had learned the writer approach in a management workshop ages back and have practiced it successfully. It is called the Sandwich approach. Say something good about the person, then critique and close it in a positive note 😊🤗

    Liked by 1 person

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