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How to Give Criticism Without Sounding Like a Jerk

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 likely to pay attention to the whole package.

Instead of being snarky and vague, explain why you think your criticism is valid and be specific and constructive about what you think would be an improvement. The former doesn’t inform much and makes people unhappy; the latter at least gives some ideas for improvement.

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How to Give Criticism Without Sounding Like a Jerk

How to Give Criticism Without Sounding Like a Jerk

https://lifehacker.com/how-to-give-criticism-without-sounding-like-a-jerk-5915687

lifehacker.com

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Key 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 likely to pay attention to the whole package.

Instead of being snarky and vague, explain why you think your criticism is valid and be specific and constructive about what you think would be an improvement. The former doesn’t inform much and makes people unhappy; the latter at least gives some ideas for improvement.

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.

Don't Make It Personal

Criticism by nature can be personal, but delivering it you need to separate your thoughts on someone's work or behavior from what you think of them.

Keep your criticism focused on the specifics that you want to discuss, and avoid the temptation to make judgements of the person or their work based on the specific feedback you want to give. Remember, "you need to respond to urgent issues faster" is not the same as "you're slow." You want to communicate the former, not the latter.

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“People seldom refuse help, if one offers it in the right way.”

A. C. Benson.

On Giving Constructive Criticism

Sharing and receiving feedback is necessary for improvement. If you have ideas on how someone can improve, don’t hold your ideas back, share your criticism constructively.

Of course, be sensitive to others’ feelings and offer feedback when you feel the other person is ready to take it. Else, you may come across as imposing your views on others, especially if you repeatedly tell them what to do without them requesting it.

1. Use The Feedback Sandwich

Also known as PIP (Positive-Improvement-Positive), it consists of “sandwiching” a critic between two positive comments in the following manner:

  1. Start by focusing on the strengths — what you like about the item in question.
  2. Then, provide the criticism — things you don’t like and areas of improvement.
  3. Lastly, round off the feedback with (a) a reiteration of the positive comments you began with and (b) the positive results that can be expected if the criticism is acted upon.

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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 mi...
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.

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Delivering feedback to defensive people
  • Clear content: Choose the right language and imagine you’re a newscaster clearly relaying the most essential information to them.
  • Neutral tone: Remove your emotions from ...