The notion of constructive criticism is one that is much easier said than done. But there is no denying that each of us desire to be the best version of ourselves, as we also want the same for the people we care about. Consequently, that means pointing out the areas our friends, family, and co-workers may fall a bit short.
Thankfully, there are ways to do this without totally crushing their sense of self-esteem.
Instead of taking the typical and less effective approach of compliment & critique, or completely sugar coating your words, we want to break down a few ways you can more effectively deliver criticism.
Understand the point you want to get across
Stay on target. When you are approaching someone with constructive criticism it is not the time to touch on other areas that don’t directly correlate with the issue at hand. Leave anything personal at the door and bring multiple solutions to the conversation instead.
Know how they would like to be talked to
The golden rule of “treat everyone how you would like to be treated” is overplayed. Everyone has a slightly different tone and vernacular in which they prefer to be spoken to. Some colleagues may want you to shoot it to them straight, others may like if you showed them an example of how to fix their miscues. However it needs to happen, it begins by investing time and attention into the people you work with - find out what they like, dislike, react to, and could care less about.
Have a thoughtful way to improve in mind
The main purpose of criticism is to hopefully induce a change in behavior. Approaching them with a few ways they can correct the critiqued behavior is a great strategy to open up the critique to a two-way conversation. Get to the root of why they prefer their current methods and offer up ways that bring value to them and the company.
Criticism hurts. There is no way of getting around that. But going around the issues may not result in a change in behavior that is necessary, and ruling with an iron fist may result in a resentful group of peers. Next time you are faced with the task of having to dish out critique, come equipped with these tips in mind.