Criticism is the feedback we receive for a job or our behavior. It is an exchange of information to advance in your company or personally.
Unfortunately we do not learn the necessary skills to make constructive criticism or on the other hand, we let too much time go by and then we explode making criticisms that destroy relationships. The consequences are: sarcastic, disrespectful or accusatory criticism in the company and lead to a reduction in performance and motivation, staff turnover and a bad working environment.
The most frequent reactions from people who receive criticism are:
getting defensive, apologizing, avoiding responsibility or closing themselves off completely from working with those who criticize 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, such as calling him or her incompetent, lazy, irresponsible ... the only thing it does is make this individual defensive and thus closes him or her 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.