There are times when you are required to give criticism to others. This can be a potentially volatile situation that does not lead to improvement, and may even end up in resentment.
Here are seven tips for giving effective criticism that will generally achieve the outcome you want without harming your relationship with the person you are criticizing.
1. Potential Solution
Make it a rule to never criticize without offering a potential win-win solution. If the other person sees that you have thought about the situation and that your aim is to improve the outcome for all concerned then they are much more likely to accept the criticism and act on it.
2. Short And To The Point
Keep your criticism short and to the point and always start by pointing out what you ARE happy with before pointing out what you are NOT happy with. Precede the criticism by asking “do you mind if I speak bluntly for a moment?”
3. Talk In Terms Of Your Own Mistakes
It is a lot easier for a person to face up to their mistakes if you talk in terms of your own mistakes. By drawing a parallel between the current situation and one in which you made a mistake you are allowing the other person to realize that it is okay to make a mistake and that they can go past that mistake to achieve good results in the future.
4. Allow Others To See Their Own Mistakes For Themselves
The best form of criticism is to create a situation that allows the other person to see their own mistakes (before you need to directly criticize them). This is not always possible but with a little thought you will be able to do this a good percentage of the time. It also has the benefit that people generally learn better when they become aware through their own experience.
5. Allow The Other Person To Retain Their Dignity
Being criticized has the potential for being embarrassing. If a person becomes embarrassed they may react by arguing for there limitations rather than opening their mind to a better way of doing things.
Allow the other person to retain their dignity at all times throughout the criticism and, wherever possible, deliver the criticism in private.
6. Finish On A Positive Note
Always finish on a positive, inspiring point and maintain good rapport. Let the other person know that it’s okay to make a mistake and that you have confidence in their ability to improve the situation.
7. The End Result
There should only ever be one reason for criticizing and that is to get a better end result than the result you are getting now.
Before you start criticizing make sure you know clearly what result you want. If you hold that desired result in mind and you apply the tips you have just learned you will find that most of the time you will get the result you seek and all concerned will be happy about it.
By James Delrojo