Constructive criticism, also referred to as constructive feedback, is a crucial part of the workplace. It is difficult to tell someone something negative that will not hurt or make him or her feel bad. But sometimes you need to give critique, so that the productivity and efficiency of the business can be improved. Consider the following suggestions on how to give constructive criticism in the workplace.
Present the issue
Whenever you give constructive feedback make sure you concentrate on the current one. It is not advisable to talk about past issues during the discussion. This is like badgering your employee or co-worker with criticisms which would agitate him even more. Also, whenever you bring up the past problems of that person, he or she would tend to get distracted or confused and thus would overlook or fail to remember what the constructive criticism of the current issue really is. Whenever you focus on one issue and remain on task, you can give specific solutions that he or she should take. Do not allow your discussion to wander. This is important because you help him or her recognize what the issue is and how it affects others and the rest of the company.
Negative and positive feedback
During your conversation, combine healthy negative comments with positive ones. It is best to mention his or her good qualities and strong points so that you can talk to him or her about your intentions of helping. This way the criticism is softened. Be calm when giving out the constructive feedback. You should not take things personally and avoid criticizing his or her traits or character. This will embarrass him or her and in the end, this will reflect on you. Eventually, your employees or co-workers will not respect you. You should also try putting yourself in their shoes whenever you give constructive feedback. Whenever you empathize when providing criticism, you tend to be more sensitive to what you will say and what your employees will feel.
List down the specific points your employee should improve on or behaviors he or she should change. You can also set a specific time or a deadline for them to reach their goals. This way he or she would have concrete ideas that he or she can use to better his performance. You can also provide him or her with opportunities of training and development and even mentoring. You can set meetings at the end of the month or at the end of the week to check on your employee's progress and improvement.
Response from your employee
Give him time to respond to your feedback. Be open and listen to whatever he or she has to say about what he or she has done. Give him the chance to explain his side of the story. Always remember to remain professional and not keep it personal. If he or she is afraid to speak up after what happened, allow him to respond through writing. It would be good if you keep your office open to written responses from your employees.
Giving feedback in a constructive way will even boost your employee's or co-worker's self-esteem and thus increase productivity and output.