Management Tips: 10 Quick Tips for Giving Constructive Criticism

performance appraisalGiving constructive criticism to our employees in order to improve their performance is never easy

What it is, though, is absolutely crucial – to the business, to the team, to you and (most importantly) to the employee.  Here are my 10 quick management tips for giving constructive criticism (with plenty of additional resources should you want to read more)

Constructive Criticism Tip 1: Get clear that there actually is a problem with the employee’s performance

Check that there actually is a performance problem, rather than simply a difference in working methods or style, by identifying the negative consequences to the business of what the employee is doing or not doing

(Read more in my blog Improving Employee Performance: Is It Them or Is It Me?)

 Constructive Criticism Tip 2: Describe the behaviors

Focus on describing the specific behaviors that are causing a problem with the employee’s performance. Focus on what they are doing (or not doing) that is resulting in a negative consequence to the business

(Read more on giving constructive criticism with the focus on behaviors HERE)

Constructive Criticism Tip 3: Avoid criticising personality traits or characteristics

Avoid at all costs giving criticism on characteristics or personality traits. Avoid talking about ‘you’ve got a poor attitude’ or ‘you don’t listen’ or ‘you need more confidence’. If you can’t see it – don’t criticise it

Constructive Criticism Tip 4: Focus on the facts

Focus on the facts and avoid assumptions. If you don’t have the facts, don’t give the criticism

Constructive Criticism Tip 5: Use results and consequences

The easiest way to gain agreement from your employee to improving their performance is by giving criticism that illustrates the results and consequences of their actions. Use my Actions > Results>Consequences model to frame the conversation:

  • ‘When you do this…’
  • ‘This is what happens…’
  • ‘And this why it’s a problem…’

(Read more at How to Give Constructive Criticism using A>R>C)

Constructive Criticism Tip 6: Avoid the scattergun

Maybe it should go without saying that criticism should be given one-to-one and in private? You’d be surprised how many managers use the scattergun approach – delivering  criticism to the whole team in the hope that it ‘hits’ the people who need to hear it. It’s a technique that rarely works well, if ever

(Read more at The Worst Way to Give Performance Feedback)

Constructive Criticism Tip 7: Seek agreement

After you have delivered and explained the criticism, ask the employee – clearly and specifically – to agree that there is a problem with their performance that they need to address. Don’t assume agreement – ask for it

Constructive Criticism Tip 8: Gain Perspective

After you’ve gained agreement (and only after) ask the employee to explain their perspective. You’re looking to identify – from the employee’s point of view – why the performance problem has arisen. Be careful here, you want the employee to share their perspective, not to make excuses

Constructive Criticism Tip 9: Agree the way forward

Discuss and agree what the employee will do to improve their performance. Offer your support (if needed). Agree how you and the employee will monitor their performance going forward and how and when you will share feedback

Constructive Criticism Tip 10: Don’t let the ‘pain’ stop you giving the criticism

Many managers avoid giving criticism because they don’t want to cause their employees pain – such as upset, anger, disappointment or embarrassment. The reality is, not giving criticism causes pain – especially to the employee. Your responsibility as a manager is to skilfully deliver the criticism. You don’t have to take responsibility for your employee’s emotional response to that criticism. It’s just not helpful – especially to the employee – to do that

(Read more at Constructive Criticism – Managing the ‘Pain Problem’ )

Do you want to read more about giving Constructive Criticism?

constructive criticismWhy not take a look at my e-book ‘Motivating Your Staff to Improve Their Performance with Positive Criticism’ – a step-by-step guide for giving criticism in a way that your staff member finds easy to understand and easy to accept and that motivates them to make a change that improves their performance. More details HERE


One Response to Management Tips: 10 Quick Tips for Giving Constructive Criticism

  1. […] from reading the blog. Let’s take another example. Let’s say you’ve read my blog ’10 Quick Tips for Giving Constructive Criticism’ and think ‘I wish my supervisors would give constructive criticism in this way’. Why […]

Leave a Reply