Constructive criticism is something every manager must learn to do. The receiver of criticism will definitely be an employee or team member in many cases. Such criticism can help employees perform better and contribute to organizational growth. But, to be effective and to prevent backfiring, follow the right approach to give criticism that is constructive in nature.
Read our article further as we discuss the essential steps involved in offering constructive criticism in the workplace with actionable tips and examples.
Feedback is an important component in improving the performance of employees. Not only is it important for managers to regularly provide feedback to their direct reports, but teammates should also ask their managers if the work done is up to the mark or not.
As the amount of feedback exchanged increases, it provides managers with insights into their leadership skills. It also gives employees insights into their work from the people they work most closely with. And positive feedback has proven to have a positive impact on your business outcomes.
Everyone has a unique set of strengths and developmental areas. With feedback and suggestions, people can improve their way of working and it will help them to learn and then grow in their area of expertise.
By implementing an easy and structured way to request feedback when it matters most, you are actively putting people in the driver’s seat of their development instead of having to constantly initiate the process.
Another benefit of a strong employee feedback culture is that it gives employees the tools to address issues before they escalate. Also, when people are used to getting and giving feedback regularly, they become more comfortable with having these difficult conversations.
It’s never easy to discuss problems at work, especially if an issue has arisen from something someone has done (or not done). However, we all make mistakes, and we can all benefit from learning from them. When you find yourself in a position of having to have a difficult conversation with your team member, help to take the pressure off the situation by leading with some positive feedback.
Employees feel more motivated at work when they are appreciated and valued. So, make sure your employees know that you recognize their positive efforts before tackling any problems. It will help them to receive constructive feedback more effectively, as they won’t feel that they are being criticized so much. Implementing employee retention strategies alongside positive criticism can significantly boost employee morale.
People are more likely to feel motivated at work if they are appreciated and valued. Start talking to employees on a positive note and make sure they know that you recognize their positive efforts before tackling any problems. It will help them to take constructive feedback more openly, as they won’t feel that they are being criticized so much.
Also, tell them the ways to erase the mistakes with the tips you will provide them.
You must be as specific as possible to make feedback practical. This can be done by using exact examples of behaviors or situations at work. For example, saying “Your presentation skills aren’t great” doesn’t inform them what changes you want to see in the presentation. Instead, tell them specific slides that need to be changed and what content should be there. This will allow them to figure out the changes they can make.
Help your employees find solutions for themselves by asking open questions such as, “How do you think you could do this better in the future?” Then suggest to them your opinion on how it needs to be done. Your thoughts and ideas can be very important for them to implement the way the work should be and they will happily make the changes in it.
Then, create clear, measurable goals for your teammates to check if employees are improving. Ask your employees how they can achieve these goals.
Focus on the employee’s actions after your feedback and not their personality. Your conversation should not look like a personal attack on them. To explain behavior, use adverbs as they describe actions and avoid adjectives as these describe nouns. For example, rather than saying, ‘You look least interested in the meeting presentation’, Say “During the meeting, you looked at your phone frequently”.
Negative statements can sound like scolding and can make people defensive and ignore your feedback. Instead of “You should not…”, be encouraging for them and say,
“Perhaps you could aim to/try…”
“Have you thought about trying…?”
Be empathetic to the people you are working with. Remember, you are also an employee.
|Do make sure to be specific||Don’t wait – Feedback shouldn’t be something that is given only at annual reviews.|
|Do give the recipient a chance to respond||Don’t sandwich negative feedback between positive messages|
|Do consider the recipient’s needs||Don’t exaggerate – make sure you give specific examples|
|Do only give negative feedback in private||–|
According to PwC, nearly 60% of employees surveyed stated that they would like feedback on a daily or weekly basis — a number that increased to 72% for employees under age 30.
There are many reasons why people don’t get the feedback they are looking for: it is time-consuming, and stressful to give constructive feedback, and it’s not easy.
However, the company should focus on building an employee-driven feedback culture. Supported by coaching — and with additional training and resources — the company can create a process where people can freely exchange feedback with anyone within the organization.
By leveraging a positive form of communication, teams feel more confident and empowered in their roles and more engaged in their work. By training managers and supervisors on effective feedback techniques and once they have a cadence that works for the team, start implementing it on a frequent basis, that will make the way through your organization.
When delivered in the right way, constructive feedback can be worked out together with the team which will make improvements to the overall work and productivity of the employee. Your team will be stronger and more productive for being able to have these discussions with you. Do it optimally. Do not just talk, discuss, and motivate your employees to adhere to the feedback.