For an organisation to have its workforce constantly improving on its day-to-day work, it must develop a culture that allows work to be criticised.

Managers/employers are usually on the side of the field in the workplace where criticism of work comes from. Employees are usually at the receiving end.  Despite the correlation between better improved work and criticism, criticism isn’t always an easy thing to give or receive.

Even when we all act cool and fine, people don’t enjoy being criticised (especially when it isn’t well constructed). Yes, there is a need to develop the capacity to take criticism when it comes, but, a large responsibility lies on the person providing the criticism to ensure that it is well constructed and doesn’t leave people demoralised afterwards.

“No one likes to give constructive criticism, but everyone wants to hear it” This report shows.

Here are 5 Tips to help you Provide Constructive Criticism.

Compliment before you provide criticism.

Never start a feedback session with the negatives. Instead, start by complimenting the person for at least the effort they put into work. Practically, you can say “I know getting this project to this stage must have been a lot of work for you. Thank you for the sleepless nights you gave for this but, there are a few things that can be better”.

This way, you provide a soft ground for a hard landing. You do not want to have the person receiving criticism demoralised from the start.

Focus on a single issue. Don’t overload.

At all times, the goal of criticising someone’s work must be to provide meaningful feedback that creates an opportunity for improvement. With this in mind, you do not want to bombard the recipient with multiple issues. Even when the goal is to help a person improve on their work, throwing multiple things they didn’t do well at them may cause them to lose touch on what needs to be improved and how.

The best practice is to focus on one issue (usually the most important one).

Make it about the Work, not the person

People handle criticism better when it is about the work they do. How your criticism is interpreted, whether as personal or otherwise, largely depends on the manner in which you deliver it.

For example, instead of saying ‘Your introduction part of your article was good but you may want to improve on your use of punctuation”, It is better to say “ The introduction part of the article was good, you may want to improve the use of punctuation”.

Apply Emotional Intelligence

Providing constructive criticism requires emotional intelligence, especially when evaluating someone’s work. Timing is also an important factor to consider when giving feedback. For instance, if feedback is given immediately after the work is submitted, the recipient may feel overwhelmed or defensive.

Is the timing right? Would the feedback be more effective if given later?

Having the skill to accurately read and understand others’ emotional states, as well as anticipate how your words and actions might impact their emotions, is crucial when providing constructive criticism

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