When it comes to the workplace, it can be hard to articulate your thoughts with a constructive attitude – particularly if you find having confidence in your opinions difficult, or you’re aware there are sensitive members of your team.
But giving constructive criticism is a healthy activity in the workplace and enables important projects to move forward, better working relationships to flourish, as well as more open and honest discussions. It encourages creative thinking, confidence building (when delivered consciously) and allows for collaborative environments.
We’ve put together a list of our top tips for delivering effective, constructive criticism to ensure harmony in the workplace.
Be specific with what you don’t like and why
It’s perfectly acceptable if a piece of work or idea didn’t turn out how you had anticipated and to give this as feedback. But be specific and have clear reasoning as to why you don’t agree with an outcome. Your opinion counts, so demonstrate why you have come to a certain conclusion – this will help to move the project forward and enter healthy debates with your team.
Suggest improvements and alternatives
Prepare your own alternative suggestions on the situation, along with your reasoning applied to why you think it would be successful. It will be helpful for colleagues to see your thought process and how you would approach a situation.
Try and remove the colleague from the situation and focus on the piece of work rather than the attributes of the colleague who delivered the project.
Instead of saying, “the project didn’t work because you’re too old to choose relevant audiences,” adjust to, “if we were to repeat this project, it would be helpful to broadcast to a wider age-range when choosing audience dynamics.”
Respect and listen
It’s only natural for constructive criticism to be met by challenges from your fellow colleagues and, of course, some find feedback hard to digest. Include your team member in the discussion, asking for their feedback too and consider their reasonings for delivering the work.
Give praise too
Giving praise is particularly important because it demonstrates you have taken all aspects of a project or situation into account. Delivering relevant praise will help develop a colleague and encourage future successful work.