Criticism is the feedback we receive for a job or our behavior. It is an exchange of information in order to advance personally or within your company.
Unfortunately, we do not learn the necessary skills to make constructive criticism or sometimes we simply let too much time go by so that we eventually explode and make criticisms that destroy relationships. The consequences are: sarcastic, disrespectful or accusatory criticism, which, within a company, lead to lower performance and motivation, fast staff turnover, and a poor working environment.
The most common reactions from people who receive criticism are:
getting defensive, apologizing, avoiding responsibility, closing themselves off completely from working with those who criticize them, and quitting their job or being fired.
How should we give constructive criticism?
By focusing only on what the person has done and what they can do, in the hope that they will do better. When we attack an individual's character, - calling them incompetent, lazy, irresponsible, for example - the only thing it does is make this individual defensive and thus closes them off to possible solutions. We all understand that there are setbacks or mistakes at times but if a person is incompetent, we understand that it cannot be changed so easily.
According to Harry Levinson, to make a proper criticism you have to keep these points in mind:
1. Describe specific facts. Point out what the person has done well and not so well and what they could change.
2. Offer solutions or alternatives.
3. Criticism is effective face to face and in private.
4. Develop empathy. Reflect on the impact of your words on the other person
Team and company leaders should remind their teams and employees that we are not perfect and that criticism is an opportunity to move forward. They are not an attack on the person but an improvement in action.
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