Listen for Understanding - Deepstash

deepstash

Beta

deepstash

Beta

How Smart People Respond to Constructive Criticism

Listen for Understanding

As the person shares feedback with you, listen closely. Allow the person to share their complete thoughts, without interruption. When they’re done, repeat back what you heard.

Avoid analyzing or questioning the person’s assessment; instead, just focus on understanding his or her comments and perspective.

810 SAVES


EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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 specific.

An specific feedback that doesn’t target the person is easier to understand and act upon. 

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.

9 Tips To Give Constructive Criticism
  1. Use the "feedback sandwich" method when advising. Give a positive comment, then the feedback that could potentially be construed as criticism, and finish by reiterating the positive. That way the criticism is "sandwiched" between two positives, making it seem less harsh.
  2. Focus on the situation, not the person. This helps preventing the other person from feeling attacked.
  3. Think about timing when you give feedback. When emotions are running high people tend to become less receptive to criticism.
  4. Use A "Straw Man" to illustrate your point. "Try to give the critique through a personal anecdote or an inspiring story of someone famous who went through the same thing.
  5. Offer specific suggestions. This keeps the discussion focused and gives the other person a concrete area of improvement.
  6. Keep your language positive and avoid negative statements. It helps to set the tone of the entire exchange.
  7. Stick to "I" statements. Using "I feel" statements over more accusatory "you" statements works.
  8. Be conscious of your tone. If you're coming off as stern, or angry, that may trigger someone’s defenses.
  9. Think about if it really needs to be said, or if it doesn't need to come from you. Sometimes it's better not to say it. Nothing can be more off-putting than unsolicited advice.
Constructive Criticism

However needed it may be, people often view criticism as hurtful and feel attacked. And that puts them on the defensive, meaning they won’t be able to truly absorb what’s being criticized.

That’s why constructive criticism is a helpful skill to develop when dealing with other people. Knowing how to do it drastically affects how the message is received.

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.
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.
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.