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How to Give Kind Criticism, and Avoid Being Critical : zen habits

https://zenhabits.net/how-to-give-kind-criticism-and-avoid-being-critical/

zenhabits.net

How to Give Kind Criticism, and Avoid Being Critical : zen habits
Can you give someone criticism without hurting their feelings or making them angry? Can you do it kindly? I think that's a difficult proposition for most people, but in truth it's possible to give criticism with kindness and have a decent chance of having the person take it constructively.

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Why We Give Criticism

  • To help someone improve. Sometimes criticism is actual honest feedback.
  • To see a change that we would like. If we regularly read a magazine or blog, for example, there might be something that often bothers us that we’d like to see changed. 
  • To further the discussion. Criticism can be a way to get a good, intelligent discussion about something going on.
  • To hurt someone or to vent our frustrations.
  • To boost our ego, to show how powerful or knowledgeable we are.

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Why Criticism Hurts or Angers

  • The criticism is mean-spirited. If you use insulting or degrading language or put down the person in any way, they will focus on that, and not on the rest of the criticism.
  • If you focus on the person instead of their actions, you will make them angry or defensive or hurt.
  • They assume you’re attacking them. Some people can’t take criticism in a detached, non-personal way. 
  • They assume they’re right. Many people don’t like to hear that they’re wrong, whether it’s true or not.

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How to Deliver Criticism Kindly

  • Don’t attack attack, insult, or be mean in any way
  • Talk about actions or things, not the person.
  • Don’t tell the person he’s wrong.
  • Don’t criticize at all. Give a positive suggestion instead.

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Suggestion, not criticism

No matter how nice your criticism and how much you focus on actions, a criticism is often not the way to go.

A suggestion can be positive, it can be seen as helpful, it can be seen as an instrument for improvement and change.

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Be Positive And Specific

Be Positive And Specific
  • Negative criticism hurts the discussion because things can take an ugly turn from there.
  • It’s easy to give vague criticism. It’s harder still to make a specific, positive suggestion:

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Relate to actions

Relate to actions

Never criticize the person. Always criticize the actions. 

And when you’re making suggestions, make suggestions about actions, not about the person.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Use The "Sandwich" Approach And Be Specific On The Expected Results

"Sandwiching" your critique between two positive things about the person's softens the blow, and avoids it coming off like an attack. The mix of positive and negative makes people more likel...

Give Feedback, Not Instruction

Keep your criticism to your observations, and the impact they have. Don't try to fix the problem, just identify it.

Offer to help fix the problem, and to support the solution that the other person comes up with. Unless you know how to do the work your coworker is doing, don't try to solve it for them—they'll ignore your feedback and you.

Give Kind Criticism, And Remember The Point Of It

The point of your criticism is to help someone improve, or to correct a problem, and your feedbacks should carry that message. If you’re doing anything but that, reevaluate whether you actually have legitimate criticism to give, or you just need to talk to someone.

Offer positive and specific suggestions to alleviate the issue at hand, or identify the problem clearly without talking about the person, just the issue.

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3. Be Specific With Your Feedback

The more specific your feedback, the more actionable it is for the one receiving it. Example: Asking for an article on communication is vague while asking for one on public speaking is speci...

4. Comment On Actionable Things

To help people improve talk about things they can do something about, rather than those out of their control. Critiquing the former makes your criticism constructive; critiquing the latter makes the person feel bad as they can’t do anything about it, even if they want to.

Understand the person’s situation and his/her objectives, then provide your critique based on that. And if you need to talk about something out of their control, balance it out by talking about things they can control.

5. Give Improvement Recommendations

Give recommendations on what the person can do to improve so they have a clear idea of what you have in mind and get a strong call-to-action.

With your recommendations, (a) be specific with your suggestions and (b) briefly explain the rationale behind the recommendation. Also, try to limit examples to one per point to make your case more impactful.

5 dangers of criticism

  • Losing yourself. 
  • Isolation.
  • Self-justification.
  • Bitterness.
  • Revenge.
  • Transforming criticism

    Criticism, even done poorly, transforms leaders. The sting of criticism given years ago can still cling years later. Most often, criticisms humble you.

    Preventing criticism

    Engage people early and often. Avoid isolation. It’s difficult to criticize the plan you had a hand in making.

    Choose teammates carefully. Don’t give persistent critics a seat at the table.