Helpful Hints for Sending Criticism

By Klein, Donald J.; Crampton, Suzanne M. | Workforce, March 1999 | Go to article overview

Helpful Hints for Sending Criticism


Klein, Donald J., Crampton, Suzanne M., Workforce


1. When criticizing, concentrate on developing the individual.

One effective technique is to create an action plan as a guide for the individual to improve.

Avoid making any criticism destructive or too personal.

Concentrate on turning the session into a win-win situation, so the teammate, manager and company gain.

Criticize actions, not people.

Be prepared (anticipate questions).

Ask the person how to change things to improve the situation.

Provide specific examples and alternatives for the criticized behavior.

Be direct and to the point.

Try to make as many positive statements as possible.

2. Often it's the criticisms tone, not the exact words selected, that provokes an employee.

Concentrate on establishing a constructive and positive tone. For example, begin with phrases such as, "These skills could enhance your repertoire and make you more effective," and "Here's how you can improve."

Don't demean employees or make them feel that they are incapable of improving.

Put yourself in the other person's shoes when planning your criticism, and think about how you would feel if someone delivered those comments to you.

Rehearse what you're going to say before the meeting.

Make sure the meeting ends on a positive note.

Always stay calm and in control.

Always be specific.

Choose a neutral location.

Praise in public, criticize in private.

There's no need to raise your voice in anger.

Constantly monitor your tone of voice and body language.

Allow some cool down time, if possible.

Respect an individual's space and don't physically get in his or her face.

Walk through the situation so he or she knows what needs to be changed and why.

3. Involving the teammate in the process serves as another way to turn the experience into a rewarding one.

Avoid supplying all the answers.

Avoid making sweeping statements. For example, instead of saying, "You're messing up," offer suggestions on how to improve.

How do you see this affecting the team?

What do you feel should be done?

Ask the person for his or her view of the problem (maybe the person doesn't even believe there is a problem).

Ask for opinions first.

4. Focus on the future, not the past.

Stress partnership in trying to solve problems. …

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