Giving Criticism: Tip #2

9 Oct

Tip: Have the “purpose” of your conversation clearly established upfront

Before you begin to deliver criticism to an individual, determining the purpose for the criticism must be made apparent. Because you are delivering criticism, you want the receiver to change his behavior, because the receiver perceives the intent as positive.  This is a very important step when you are gathering information and fully thinking through the situation.

Let’s take, Sally, for example. She has repeatedly asked Billy, her spouse, to put the toilet seat down with no success.  Sally reasons that perhaps it’s possible that Billy continues to forget or that Billy is being cordial but simply doesn’t want to change.

As Sally continues to ponder over her purpose of bringing up the topic, yet again, she considers the following:

  • She can ignore the situation rather than constantly argue with Billy and cause stress in her relationship.
  • Sally can get creative and tape a picture of something that Billy would not like to look at to remind him to put the toilet seat down!

Sally’s purpose is to encourage Billy to put the toilet seat down, however, after working through the situation, she realizes that something so minor, should not be causing so much stress and tension in their relationship and decided to drop the whole situation.

Why have your purpose clearly in mind upfront?

  • Because your intent needs to be helpful, giving criticism repeatedly without seeing any positive changes causes the giver to reflect on the purpose- otherwise the receiver, as in Sally’s case can be perceived as a nag!
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