In today’s lesson, we’re going to look at both the giving and the receiving of criticism. What’s the best way to give it, and what should you do when someone criticizes you?
Here are seven tips that will help you give criticism effectively:
1. Don’t criticize if possible. Very rarely is it effective; it usually just annoys the other person and makes you look intolerant.
2. Thank or praise at least ten times for every time you criticize. Each time you criticize someone, it undoes ten praisings, so use it carefully.
3. If you DO need to give someone negative feedback (because what they are doing isn’t going to change of its own accord, and/or it’s affecting other people), then be constructive: Say what you want them to do instead. To just say, “I don’t like you doing X,” or, “You are doing X and it’s bad,” is pretty unhelpful. Even if it’s obvious what they should be doing—for example, if it’s a case of, “You’re turning up late too often”—you still need to spell it out in order to sound constructive.
4. Base your criticism on facts: Bad behavior must be measurable; otherwise, it’s just your word against theirs.
5. Add a bit of emotion to the facts—say how it makes you feel.
6. Get some commitment from them. Otherwise, they’ll walk away and you won’t know if you’ve made any progress.
7. Finish with something upbeat—for example,“I know you can do it,” or, “It’ll be great once it’s sorted, sorry I had to bring it up.”
What should you do when someone criticizes you?
First, think about whether they are right, since they might be. And if they are, take it on board, thank them for bringing it to your attention, and promise you’ll change. And then try to change.
But what if they are wrong / unreasonable / it’s their opinion but you don’t agree? This may seem a little counterintuitive, but you should ask a bit more about what they don’t like, to make sure you really understand their point of view. Maybe they ARE right, or maybe you’ll uncover the fact that they aren’t right; maybe it’s complicated and only a problem some of the time. So, you would say, “Tell me more about that,” and then listen, perhaps answering more questions.
If you still feel that they are wrong, then your best two options are Fogging, which we will cover tomorrow, and/or the Four-Step Process for Telling People Things They Don’t Want to Hear, which we will cover the day after tomorrow.
Homework: Try praising other people more when they do good things, try basing criticism on facts and saying what you want other people to do differently, and try getting commitment from them about whether they will do what you’re asking or not. And if you do get criticized, ask people who criticize you more about when it happens and why it’s a problem to them. You’ll find that this gives you a feeling of control, as well as clarifying the problem, thus making it easier to fix.
See you tomorrow for the lesson about fogging!
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