If you want to ensure that your employees can take constructive criticism well, you need to learn how to deliver it properly. Mistakes and errors are bound to happen and it is the manager’s responsibility to get the employees back on the right track through constructive criticism and valuable feedback. However, delivering a critical review on performance is not always easy, and if wrongly-conveyed, it can negatively impact an employee’s morale instead.
Today, we’ll go through how to offer constructive criticism in the workplace:
Constructive criticism is not the same as mere criticism that only emphasizes flaws; it is one that points out issues along with suggestions to resolve them. Performance appraisal is one of the times when managers can offer constructive criticism for improvements in performance and provide valuable feedback. Leaders need to do this strategically and use the right approach to give constructive criticism in the most-appropriate manner without offending the employee. Not everyone can take criticism well, including constructive ones, as some employees may perceive criticism as being called out or a step closer to job termination. Needless to say, criticism when wrongly-delivered can dampen self-motivation and morale of employees to thereafter reflect on their performance at work.
Here are some approaches that HR managers can consider when delivering feedbacks and constructive criticism:
You want to criticize mistakes and not the individual committing it, so it is important to remind yourself to focus on their actions. Sometimes people get carried away with situations where the emphasis on delivering criticism is about the person more than the mistake. Instead of criticizing staff for poor execution, managers should focus on the activities that lead to such a poor performance in the first place. When an employee makes mistakes, HR managers should treat them fairly without accusing them personally or pass offending remarks on their overall performance.
Instead of actually presenting the flaws, you should concentrate on how to remedy the problem. You may inform these employees about the issue and viable solutions, while emphasizing that the said employee’s improvement is critical to success. Tell them that all you want to do is assist them become a better person. You can show that you care about them and understand their situation to keep them from feeling overwhelmed or scolded. “I know you’re weary of this, this assignment is tough,” or similar words, will make them less defensive.
It is essential to provide constructive feedback in a timely and appropriate manner. In time-constrained situations, employers may speed up the process, expecting the said employee to make immediate changes. This is just not viable. Prior to actually beginning on the work of critical reflective talent, companies must first set reasonable expectations for their employees. It is fundamental to provide constructive feedback at the right moment. Employees may find it easier to take criticism when they are in their best moods and under the finest conditions. In addition, managers should make a brief note to explore the scope of potential improvements with the employee during the next performance review.
Everyone despises negative comments and criticism, and only a few people can handle it properly. Managers can use a sandwich strategy when giving criticism to mitigate the serious impacts of critical feedback. Rather than explicitly pointing out an employee’s flaws, they can open and close the talk by complimenting the individual on their activities while mentioning the essential areas to improve on. This will give them a good impression from the first time they walk into the one-on-one session, making the criticism less patronizing. Open with something good, move on to the main criticism, and close it with something good; just like how meats are placed between the buns in a sandwich.
Employees can use a self-directed solution to reflect on their mistakes and choose the best understanding of the problems at hand. This proactive method will foster an open, democratic workplace culture in which everyone is encouraged to speak out, brainstorm, and propose solutions to issues they’re dealing with. Employees will feel more valued for their efforts as a result, and employers will be capable of committing higher-level duties to this respected workforce for better task management and innovative performance.
Subjectivity frequently leads to biased decision-making and disgruntled employees. Employer perceptions based on rumor and those witnessed may be harmful to the company’s wellbeing, since the negativity projected during criticism delivery can reduce employee morale and self-esteem. Sufficient information should be collected through objective assessment, which will help in providing the employees with specific insightful feedback. Employers would then be in a better position to identify the essential areas in which an employee needs to be trained in order to improve their skills and future opportunities.
Criticism is vital to help employees improve, learn and grow with the company. In delivering constructive criticism, managers should not make employees feel patronized. Instead, they should stick onto the ‘constructive’ part where it is intended to make them perform better the next time. How this is delivered is surely important, as it determines responses sought by an employee and reflects on the overall job performance.