We don’t have to play mean when delivering critics
We often face the situation where we need to evaluate or criticize someone. If we want to collect honey, we should not kick the beehive. If we play offense, they will naturally play defense.
Here are some ways I have always dealt with the situation :
Be kind and gentle
I meant truly kind. Saying bad words gently wouldn’t make any different. People have a hard time accepting any criticism, gentle or not, but if it’s harsh, it’ll almost always have worse responses.
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Ask to clarify
Nobody likes to be accused or blamed for something they don’t do. It is important to clarify a situation to get a complete perspective of a case. If I see a situation, I will first ask why and how it happened.
Point out what is wrong
What matter most is to let people know what is wrong and how it supposed to be. Do not corner and focus on who is wrong.
Everybody can make mistakes, but people are smart enough to avoid the second same mistakes. It is important to cement an understanding upon what is wrong and how to improve it for the next opportunity.
Do not forget to point out what is already right as well. Not just as a matter of compliment, knowing and understanding what is right will help us avoid any mistakes in the future.
Vague arguments won’t deliver what we meant to say. We should make it clear to a specific part. Rather than telling that they’ve made an awful design, we should point out which part looks bad. Is it the color? The layout, or any other details.
Give suggestion, offer solution
Everybody can complain, but nobody likes a complainer. We should be able to give feedbacks for the person we talk to. Understand their position and offer solutions and alternatives toward the problem. That way, we can gain respect.
In most situation, it is bad to deliver suggestions and critique in public. People tend to defend themselves more in that situation. If it is possible, talk to them personally when nobody is around. That will work better.
Header image credit: succeedafterschool.com