Learning what is constructive and what isn’t can help you to deal with it better. It will also make you a better giver of constructive feedback. To help you with this, we will explore the benefits of constructive feedback, how to give constructive feedback, and ways to give constructive criticism.
Benefits Of Constructive Feedback
The benefits of giving constructive feedback are for both to the giver and receiver. For the giver, there is learning, growth, and progress made on themselves as well as their environment. The receiver also has an opportunity to learn about themselves, which can lead to personal growth for them. Constructive criticism will provide solutions so that people don’t feel like they were attacked. It is not meant to be delivered with the intention of hurting or offending someone. The aim is for improvement and progress.
How To Give Constructive Feedback
Giving constructive feedback doesn’t have to be difficult if you use a few techniques:
Be Direct – sometimes being more direct will get through where being subtle didn’t.
Be Specific – you’re not going to achieve anything if you give vague constructive criticism. It’s better to be clear about what the problem is by being specific rather than saying something like “you were late”. When saying this, who was late? Were they 5 minutes or an hour late? How often are they late and what is the impact of them being late?
Be Respectful – You may not like someone but you don’t have to let this come through in your constructive criticism. Sometimes, people, we don’t get on with we give feedback to because we know it will make their day knowing how much they annoy us. Try and keep a bit of a separation between your feelings and the business of giving constructive criticism.
Be Descriptive – try and describe what it is that you think they did wrong. For example, if someone sounds angry or harsh then it can be hard for someone to hear what you are saying when their blood is boiling with anger themselves.
Be Calm – The way you deliver the feedback can go a long way to ensuring that it is received well. If you sound like your blood pressure has increased then this will show in how you give feedback.
Be Timely – Giving 360 degree feedback when it’s an appropriate time is important so that the person receiving the feedback can give it their full attention.
Right Ways For Constructive Feedback
There are a few strategies you can use to make sure that what you say is received as constructively as possible:
- Give them some time – people often hear things incorrectly or don’t take certain words the right way when they’ve had a shock, so give them some time after the event to get over the initial shock before you feedback their performance.
- Ask them how they would prefer the feedback – every person will have different preferences so it’s good to ask them in order to work out what they are most comfortable with.
- Be honest about yourself – if they know that you’re struggling with something it’ll be easier for them to take constructive feedback.
- Be positive – you don’t want your constructive criticism to come across as something negative so try and include positives too. If they’re doing lots of things well it will help them understand what needs improvement. Employee appreciation is useful in various terms and it can help to make strong relations between the team.
- Don’t lie – lying about how you feel about their performance will not help them. It’s okay to not know how you feel about someone’s performance if it’s really bad, but don’t just say things that aren’t true for the sake of being nice.
- Be specific – you’re not going to achieve anything if you give vague constructive criticism. It’s better to be clear about what the problem is by being specific rather than saying something like “you were late”. When saying this, who was late? Were they 5 minutes or an hour late? How often are they late and what is the impact of them being late?
- Try it out – sometimes you don’t understand why someone else did things in a certain way. It might seem like the wrong one but you don’t know until you’ve tried it out. This is why asking people about their decisions can help you understand what they were thinking and how they got to that decision.
Constructive Feedback At The Workplace
Giving constructive criticism isn’t an easy skill to master, but there are some steps that anyone can take to ensure that what they say goes down well.
- Try and judge the appropriate time – giving feedback when it’s appropriate is important so that the person receiving the feedback can give it their full attention.
- Prepare if necessary – while not necessary, preparing what you’re going to say means you have a clear structure. It’ll help you to make sure that everything is included.
- Keep it short and simple – not everyone has an attention span like a goldfish, so try and keep the constructive criticism as short and simple as possible. Make sure they can take in what you’re saying before moving on to the next thing.