How to give—and receive—constructive criticism

You may have heard your personal trainer or your local fitness junkie say “no pain, no gain.” Well, unfortunately, that pain and gain relationship also applies to performance reviews. Giving someone negative criticism can be burdensome for even the most experienced manager.

When someone receives criticism pertaining to their job performance it can feel like an attack on their personality or character. Humans have a psychological need to be accepted and belong, which is why the murky waters of negative feedback must be navigated cautiously.

Receiving negative feedback can be equally as difficult and equally as important. Showing you are respectful of the feedback loop and how to improve in your role can signal your ability to move up within the company and grow as an employee. If you need to give someone negative feedback, consult this visual from GetVoIP about the do’s and don’ts of giving and receiving more constructive criticism.

Infographic: The do's and don'ts of giving (and receiving) constructive criticism

The do’s and don’ts of giving (and receiving) constructive criticism

Why feedback is so important

  • Only 21% of employees believe that their performance is reviewed in a way that motivates outstanding work.
  • 51% of Millennials expect detailed and regular feedback.
  • 92% of employees agreed that if delivered appropriately, negative feedback is effective at improving performance.

Giving constructive criticism

DO: Discuss the importance of feedback with the whole team.
DON’T: Choose one person to make an example of.
WHY: 35% of employees leave because of internal office politics.

DO: Brainstorm solutions together to encourage collaboration.
DON’T: Force-feed your personal strategy for improvement.
WHY: 38% of employees don’t get asked for their input or ideas.

DO: Set S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-sensitive) goals towards improved performance.
DON’T: Set unrealistic goals that can’t be tracked
WHY: S.M.A.R.T. goals were founded to increase performance by 30%.

DO: Balance praise and criticism, but be sincere.
DON’T: Focus on one or more failures, ignoring successes.
WHY: 43% of employees quit their jobs citing a lack of recognition.

Receiving constructive criticism

DO: Ask for lateral, upward and downward feedback.
DON’T: Wait for a superior to initiate the feedback.
WHY: 74% of Millennials feel “in the dark” about their performance.

DO: Experiment and test new strategies.
DON’T: Follow the same failed methods.
WHY: 57% of companies are looking for candidates who have intellectual curiosity.

DO: Actively participate in two-way discussion.
DON’T: Let it turn into a lecture.
WHY: 31% said they didn’t like their boss, and felt a lack of empowerment.

DO: Give upward feedback on the communicators effectiveness.
DON’T: Ignore a managers weakness in providing you with constructive criticism.
WHY: 75% of employees resign because of bad managers.


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