This is How Successful People Give Criticism

This is How Successful People Give Criticism

Many of us feel anxious giving criticism to others. What if the person does not take it well? What if they are angry?

Still, criticism is inevitable. Here are some ways to give criticism more effectively:

This is How Successful People Give Criticism

They plan their approach

Words spoken cannot be taken back. That’s why it’s so important to be mindful of what you say. That’s why successful people spend some time planning what they’re going to say before giving feedback. If you’re inexperienced, you may like to seek the advice of a mentor or superior before giving feedback.

They choose an appropriate setting

Criticism given in front of others is usually intended to either shame that person or boost one’s ego at the expense of another. There is nothing good nor constructive about this. Try to find a private setting where you can deliver the feedback. It may be appropriate to do this in a neutral setting to prevent the other person from feeling pressured.

They speak considerately

The delivery of the criticism is very critical. Consider the words and tone you use. Avoid putting people down.

They establish common ground

Successful people often highlight a goal that they share with the person they are addressing. A sales manager giving feedback to his sales associate might start by saying “I know we both want to hit our targets this quarter.” This keep the objective in mind, and helps to build rapport.

They use the feedback sandwich method

This is a very good technique to cushion harsh information. You start by complimenting the strengths of the person, introduce the feedback you have for them, and end it off with a word of encouragement and positive results that can be expected if the criticism is acted upon. This also helps them to see hope instead of feeling despair, like they’re being put down.

They focus on the situation not the person

For this to be successful, you first have to detach the situation from the person. Realize that you’re feeling dissatisfied about the action or situation at hand, not the person. From there, comment on the issue and not the person. Phrase your feedback in a passive voice instead of an active one. For instance, instead of saying “you did a very bad job on the presentation”, say “the presentation could be better”.

They are specific

Break your feedback down into key points, supporting them with specific examples. Your feedback would be more objective than subjective, making it easier to accept and digest. Make your feedback more actionable as well. This will help form your feedback as more of a motivation to improve than a criticism.  

They give recommendations

You don’t want your words to fall on deaf ears, or not produce any results. Recommendations provide a strong call-to-action. It gives people suggestions on what they can do to improve, giving them less reason to procrastinate. It also gives people a clearer idea of what you’re expecting of them.

They ask questions

Conversations goes both ways. It’s important to understand the person to be fair in your feedback. Find out more about his or her situation and listen to what they have to say. This requires open communication. Never make assumptions about anyone. People will feel like you really care about their well-being and be more motivated to put their best foot forward.

Keep Your Criticism Constructive

Hurtful emotions never result in anything good. It merely forms as an obstacle in feedback sessions as the recipient’s defense mechanism would be kicked into high gear. Your feedback may be valid and helpful, but if not relayed well on the other end, will become redundant. The only product of the session would be hurt, and a possibility of ruining a relationship, which defeats the purpose of giving feedback in the first place. Always remember to be sensitive to people’s feelings. Make “empathy” your new mantra for giving criticism.

Your Career Management Experts,



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