How To Give Your Employees Constructive Criticism: Our 3 Best Tips

how to give employee constructive criticism

You already know how essential constructive criticism is for fostering employee growth, but learning to give it well may seem about as easy a task as finding a unicorn at the local zoo.  It’s not impossible, however. 

Though it’s certainly a delicate matter, giving excellent constructive criticism can be done.  Perhaps surprisingly, when done well, it’s more appreciated by employees than praise.  It’s all about adopting the right mindset and approach. 

Continue on to learn our 3 best tips for tackling this challenging task. 

1. Know Why You’re Giving It

Before you approach an employee with constructive criticism, be sure of exactly what it is you wish to share, why you wish to share it, and what the ideal solution is.  By first approaching the matter in this way, you avoid providing unnecessary or unclear recommendations. 

With your reasoning clearly laid out, you will have a much easier time answering the employee’s questions and managing subtler elements like your tone of voice and phrasing. 

2. Keep Feedback Impersonal

Leave judgments out of the picture.  The best criticism focuses on helping the subject work towards a solution for a problematic situation while avoiding making things personal.  Feel free to address behaviors or actions that cause issues, but don’t criticize the individual. 

How exactly do you do that?  It’s simple.  Let’s take a common example: your employee Kat consistently turns work in late.  Instead of telling her that she’s lazy or disorganized, let her know you’ve noticed that her work is often presented after the deadline.  Tell her gently what problems arise as a result of the late delivery.  Remember, you are not pointing out her personal flaws, you are simply describing the problem. 

3. Work Together To Find A Solution

Let’s return to our example employee, Kat.  Kat is now clear on which behavior is a problem and why.  Ask her to work together with you to find a solution, since she knows her situation and her role best. 

Perhaps she’s overworked and simply doesn’t have enough hours in the day to get her tasks done on time.  Or she may need new organizational tips to help her stay on top of deadlines. With her help, the two of you can work together to find a solution that works for everyone. 

When you approach concerns in this way, you show that finding a solution to the issue at hand matters, but also that you care deeply about your employees and want to help them succeed. You also gain greater insight into what’s happening on the ground in your company and help develop the skills of your staff to everyone’s advantage. 

Constructive criticism isn’t so hard if you handle it with fairness, care, and don’t make things personal. 

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