― Frank A. Clark
Criticism that is offered with the aim of helping someone to grow, improve, and get better at things, in their professional and personal life, is known as constructive criticism. However, though it may be done with the most noble of sentiments, with nothing personal to gain from it, the idea of telling someone something unpleasant is not the most exciting of things. And yet, sometimes, it becomes important that a person be told about the common gaffes that they commit. Which then gives rise to the question―how exactly is one supposed to go about this so that the person in question does not hate you forever and does not make a voodoo doll to torture you with? The answers are in the following paragraphs. Read, read.
See how that works? You soften the blow by giving them something to hold on to. By doing this, they become more open to listening to what you have to say.
The student writes a report that needs to be worked on.
‘The report was bad. I didn’t like it.’
‘The report could do with some changes―improve the grammar and add a few more lines to elaborate the second point.’
On a day that you’re down, your friend calls you ‘negative’, and says that you’re draining her energy with your mood.
‘What you said was extremely rude. Do you think you’re always perfect miss sunshine to be around?’
‘What you said that day made me feel very bad. I was quite down, and your comment only made me feel worse. Everyone has their off days. You do too. And if you were having one, you would have wanted me to understand.’
How it Helps:
Even though you’re probably boiling with rage inside, it is important that you maintain your cool and speak in a calm tone. Here, it is very easy to play the blame game and start listing her/his bad qualities, but that will not help because it might just escalate into a full-blown argument. So the most effective thing to do in a situation like this is to focus on the subject instead of the negative qualities of the person. Tell them how their words made you feel, draw the attention to you. Then once you’ve done that, let them know that you want them to be more supportive.
An employee is always late for meetings.
‘This is very unprofessional. Do you need to be told what your duties are?’
(Hold a meeting and have an open discussion without taking names. Make sure that it is something that all employees may have done at one time or the other) ‘How does coming late to a meeting affect the performance?’
A coworker constantly interrupts you while you’re making a point.
‘You’re arrogant and that’s causing a problem.’
‘When you interrupt me while I’m making a point to the client, it causes a problem.’
How it Helps:
Here you’re pointing out something that they have done and not who they are as a person. Focusing on the act rather than the behavior will always garner in more positive results.
Your boss asks you to work on a project that you know will not be successful.
‘I don’t think this will work. We should look into something else.’
‘I have a few concerns about this project. I would like your opinion about the same.’