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posted on: 5/11/2012 12:29:47 PM EST
Constructive Criticism
Constructive Criticism, collaborative criticism, teamwork

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It is often difficult to tell someone that what he or she is doing is not quite right. It may depend on your relative positions in a line of authority, or why you are trying to critique another person. Success depends on, at least, how it seems to the other person. Here is a simple method for criticizing people without speaking harshly or too pointedly.

Use sincere praise in a "Compliment Sandwich Technique". When you use the sandwich technique, you sandwich one bad point (as a request not a direct complaint) offset between two good points (compliments). Don't sound unfriendly or too intense, yet not so mushy as to not make the point clearly.

Use condiments of smiles; be on the other person's side. Let the other person know that you are empathetic; feel concern, but it's not pity or sympathy. And rather than being antagonistic, you are showing that you recognize several good points, too.

Keep it real: know what the issues are. Relax and be personable; don't magnify the facts or descriptions: as if you're some cheap, "B-movie" actor, and faking it with made-up, or silly, slapstick compliments.

Start with a slice good characteristic or special gift of the person: be pretty accurate to "not" exaggerate or to be outrageous.

Criticize the actions not the person. Put the "meat" with "now ____" or "one thing is ____"

Avoid using "but" because that will even offend children.

End it with another good point -- in the critiqued person's favor. So finish with a slice of complimentary remarks. These examples stress the two compliments:

"You are so good at making those grilled cheese sandwiches. They taste so good. Now, I really wish that you would clean up the kitchen area after you do it. It would help me out a lot. You are so good about helping around the house." Variations include:

"What I liked most was (______). One way you could improve this is (______). One of your greatest strengths is (______)."

"The first thing I observed was that you did (_____) just right. Well done. Now let's talk about this, if we can tweak this one thing. Could you (______)? It’ll be even better. There, you got it just right. You did great. I really like the way you (______)."

"One really good thing about your gardening project is (______). I would really appreciate it if, instead of doing (______), that you do (______). That would make me very happy. By the way, in case I haven’t mentioned it lately, I just want to say that one thing I really admire about you is (______)."

"You make a valid point. One thing I like about how you're thinking is (______). Let me counter your argument by saying... Like I said, you made a good point. One thing that always impresses me about you is (______)."

Explain your compliments -- being respectful: make your words real by saying something that sounds reasonable and full of meaning, such as:

"And I noticed this because (______). It reminds me of the time that (______)."
"I remember the time that you (______). That is the same kind of (______) that you know that I like so much; thank you so much."

TIPS

The purposes of using this technique:

To relax the other person and help create a situation or a state-of-mind where they will be more open to receiving the criticism or advice.

To reduce the possibility that the other person will get angry with you for pointing out their faults.

By closing with a positive statement, you remind the person of their strengths, their worth and their value. They are more likely to be motivated to accept the negative if they are reminded that they are “not all bad”.

This formula is typically used in evaluation situations (employee evaluations, for example.) It can also be used, with variations, in any number of other situations. It can often “smooth out” interactions of all kinds.

Timing is everything. Do it when the person is in a good mood. Make sure they are not overtired when you bring up the topic.


WARNINGS

Pick your battles. Decide if it is really worth criticizing the person. If not, don't. How important is it really?

Watch your tone and your expression. If you sound and appear holier-than-thou, criticism will not be well received.

Each of these examples follows the positive-negative-positive formula. Critics of this formula suggest that it is inefficient, wastes time and is condescending. Creating a situation in which the other person is open to your feedback is never a waste of time. If you do not, you are opening the door to conflict, misunderstandings and anger. The key is to be honest and sincere every step of the way. If you lie or exaggerate, the other person will likely sense this and you will lose credibility and respect (not to mention that your advice will be completely ignored.) Used correctly, this technique can smooth communications and enhance understanding in the boardroom, the bedroom, the classroom, sitting at the kitchen table, or just about anywhere else you can think of.

Use of force will not help promote your rational. Punching the receiver of your criticism in the face will likely incite hostility between the two of you and could potentially end any possibility of constructively helping each other. Therefore it is advised that any use of physical force be saved for an appropriate time and place.

Remember, if you criticise someone rudely, that isn't constructive criticism - that's verbal abuse!

Hypercritical activity may also be known as nitpicking or nagging. dictionary -- hypercritical

Nitpicking is minutia, trivial, unnecessary, and unjustified criticism or faultfinding.

Nagging is to scold, complain, or find fault constantly.




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Terrie Campbell   894 day(s) ago
Great info here - some may have heard it before, but it's great to be reminded!
 
joe n brown   894 day(s) ago
Interesting Blog aKash.
 


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