Constructive (Destructive?) Criticism in the workplace
adjective. helping to improve; promoting further development or advancement (opposed to destructive): constructive criticism. of, relating to, or of the nature of construction; structural. deduced by inference or interpretation; inferential: constructive permission
We’ve all been on the receiving end of constructive criticism, and have probably also had to give it. It’s not easy for either party, but it is sometimes necessary.
Most of us work in a team environment and there can be misunderstandings or misinterpretations in terms of roles, functions and goals. Even just the challenge of working in a cooperative environment, with disparate personalities alone, can at times require intervention.
But, you should ask yourself; How well do I give constructive criticism? How well do I take it?
I’m sure many of us have had one of “those bosses” or colleagues that just don’t know how to criticize in an effective manner. It may be that they are uncomfortable with confrontation or just don’t know how to effectively share their thoughts.
When done incorrectly, criticism can come across as abrasive, insulting or downright hurtful as shown in this article by “TLNT”.
However, you can’t always blame the person giving criticism. Before storming off or saying something you may regret, you have to consider how you’re interpreting their comments. Are they truly being insensitive or is there a chance that you’re being defensive? Are you really listening to what they have to say or are you closing yourself off because you’re feelings are hurt? Perhaps you need to pause a beat before responding.
Here’s an article from Forbes that shares how to better take constructive criticism.
If you’re the one that has to provide criticism, you also need to take a moment to get your thoughts in order. You owe it to your employee to be fair and unemotional and to ensure you have a plan of action or advice on how to move forward. You should also take the opportunity to listen. And I don’t mean listen to excuses. Just be open and aware that your employee may themselves be able to offer some constructive criticism of their own!
So, before you call your employee into your office for “a talk”, perhaps you may want to review an article by Forbes Coaches Council and their advice on offering constructive feedback.
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