Sunday, October 17, 2004

An Overview Of Constructive Criticism

There is a long-standing rule among self-help authors, gurus, and speakers that basically says "don't criticize". Our mothers put it another way. "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all". I would have to agree that most of the time this is a rule worth adhering to, but there is an exception to every rule.

Here are a few guidelines I try to follow when being critical is necessary.

1. The benefit of the criticism must outweigh the initial negative impact of that criticism.

2. The criticism must be beneficial to the person being criticized.

3. The criticism cannot be for the benefit of my ego.

4. It must be done in private.

5. The reason for the criticism should be made clear.

6. The benefit of change also has to be stressed.

7. Ask the question: "Do I need to be critical, or do I really need clarification?".

8. Be polite about it, but at the same time be direct.

9. Last but not least, ask the question: "Does this really matter?"

Once again I will not claim I'm perfect in sticking to these guidelines, but I think they are as close to the ideal for criticism as I'm likely to get.

2 Comments:

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Michele said...

A very wise friend once shared with me the thenty-four hour rule. He claims that if you have anything negative to say ALWAYS wait twenty-four hours before doing so - often the issue of the reaction will lessen during this time.
This rule has saved me countless times from saying something I might have regreted

 
At 4:51 PM, Blogger A1 Success Force said...

Excellent advice, michele! Thanks for a great addition to the list.

 

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