Giving Criticism: Tip #6

5 Nov

Tip: Keep the criticism in- bounds

When giving criticism, it is important to consider whether the criticism is in-bounds. When criticism is in- bounds, then the receiver is more receptive. One important factor to consider is timing.   If the giver is in a bad mood and has a lot going on in his or her personal life, delivering criticism is out of bounds. The same is true for the receiver. If the receiver is depressed or sad, he or she may not be able to focus completely on the criticism and the message will not be received as intended. If you are unsure about the timing, ask the receiver.

For example, Paul has been out of the office all day in meetings and when he returns, his assistant, Jennifer gives him a report that is full of errors. Rather than immediately criticizing Jennifer, Paul says, “Jennifer, I don’t know what you have had to deal with today but we need to discuss this report. There are things that need to be changed. Is now a good time?”

By asking the receiver shows respect and helps to assess whether the receiver is receptive emotionally.  When givers assess the timing of the receiver they help to ensure a productive exchange because they are showing empathy for the receiver while simultaneously attempting to address a particular situation. 

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