Giving Criticism: Tip #4

26 Oct

Tip: Make sure the focus of the conversation is on how to mentally take corrective action

Before giving another person criticism, it is very important to determine the corrective action, or the desired behavior upfront.  Doing this prior to saying anything ensures that the criticism is intended to help. After all, once the giver opens his/her mouth, the control shifts to the receiver. If you do not know what the corrective action is, the criticism will need to be delayed, aborted, or revised.

For example, one of Bob’s employees continues to ask questions that she should be able to answer on her own. Bob finally loses his composure and says, “You keep interrupting me with these stupid questions!  Why are you so dumb?”  This kind of criticism is not intended to help the receiver take action. It is destructive and its purpose is to temporarily relieve the giver. Even though the giver may feel better in the short run, what’s possibly jeopardized in the long run is a quality working relationship. Bob needs to “think before delivering criticism” in order to make sure he knows the corrective action upfront. Otherwise, he needs to revise his delivery. The next tip will provide some valuable insights. 

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