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  • Deliver Criticism So That It’s Constructive – Not Demoralizing

    04/24/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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    Ever been criticized at work?

    Was the feedback delivered in a constructive way, or did you feel like you were being personally attacked? The answer probably has a lot to do with how that criticism was delivered.

    Providing constructive feedback is an integral part of successful employee management. When the feedback is positive, it’s a pleasure to offer. But when it’s critical, how can you deliver feedback effectively, without making the recipient so defensive that they completely ignore your advice?

    Below, our team shares some practical tips to make your employees receptive to feedback, even when it’s critical:

    Stay Away from Absolutes

    “You always.” “You never.” Begin your feedback with either of these two phrases, and you might as well shout into a vacuum – because your employees won’t listen to a word you say afterward. A more productive tactic? Stick to facts. Use specific examples. And try leading with a phrase like, “I’ve noticed that [X behavior] is occurring more frequently…” A softer approach will keep your employees from tuning out your feedback.

    Move Beyond Generalities

    Don’t leave employees guessing what remedies you expect; engage them in specific solutions. Instead of providing general guidelines like, “I’d like to see you be more proactive,” ask recipients to help you brainstorm and agree to specific actions they’ll take. When employees are involved in creating solutions, they’re more likely to follow through by changing their behaviors.

    Stay Neutral

    If you want employees to be receptive, hold your emotions in check. Keep your demeanor calm, your mind open and your behavior professional. Withhold judgment and interpretation until after you get employees’ input. And most importantly, don’t tell your employees that they’re being defensive – it’ll only make them more defensive!

    Tie the Criticism to Something Important to Employees

    Before you speak with them, consider what matters most to your employees. Are they driven by respect from peers? Money? Landing a promotion? Find out what’s important to them, and then frame your criticism in a way that relates to those values.

    Balance the Negative with Positives

    Employees will be much more open and responsive to criticism if they regularly hear praise from you – so recognize your employees’ accomplishments (both large and small) frequently. Giving a well-deserved “pat on the back” isn’t just a nice thing to do; it builds a more positive culture that supports growth, drives engagement and reinforces company values.

    For more practical tips, read this earlier post on how to get employees to accept feedback.

    Have Some Feedback for Us?

    As a national staffing service, Exact Staff understands and appreciates the value of constructive feedback in maintaining a productive business relationship. So, tell us what you think! Please contact our national staffing service with your comments, questions or suggestions.

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