Giving Criticism Like a Pro
Stop talking if you’re a critical boss.
You may say, “I’m just being helpful.” Unrequested criticism is like a drive-by shooting – there’s no responsibility for positive outcomes. It’s sleazy and easy.
After writing, “Taking Criticism Like a Pro” a reader asks, “How about teaching bosses how to give criticism like a pro?”
10 Ways to give great criticism:
- Great criticism begins long before it’s given. Never criticize before you’ve instructed, explained, and illustrated values and desired behaviors. Values are most important; behaviors follow. Leaders first teach then criticize.
- Affirm more; criticize less. Great places to work are positive, affirming, and encouraging. You’re lazy, ignorant, or stupid if you think negative criticisms create positive work environments. Critical bosses create critical environments.
- The feedback sandwich creates indigestion if you aren’t a positive leader, already. (Feedback sandwich = affirmation – criticism – affirmation)
- Use critical thoughts as triggers to give positive affirmations; speak otherwise. I’m always seeing needed improvements. Over-emphasize the positive or you’ll become negative.
- Make excellence a team sport. Have a “how can we improve our intake procedure” conversation with all participants, for example. Begin with values and work toward behaviors. Choose one or two new behaviors to implement. Don’t overwhelm.
- Don’t wait. If you’re sure they know better, criticize immediately; the worse the offense the stronger the criticism. Hold yourself and others to high standards, if you don’t mediocrity sets in. (Observe all human resource guidelines, where applicable)
- Clearly explain and illustrate offenses, corrections, and consequences. There should be no surprises.
- Be pleasant when giving unpleasant news.
- Set deadlines and follow-up quickly. Next week is better than next month.
- Compliment more; people over-focus on criticism. (Yes that’s like #2-4)
Bonus: Pointing out faults is 10% of the work. Great criticism is always constructive; done well it changes people. Criticism is essential but its power is overrated.
How can leaders become great at giving criticism?