There are many leaders who believe in the adage “praise in public, critique in private.” While there are certainly exceptions to this rule, it’s a good general guideline to follow when you are the leader of a company so long as you are consistent with your messages.
Nobody likes to hear criticism. What they dislike even more is being criticized in front of the rest of their team members. If public criticism becomes a regular occurrence in your workplace, it can breed resentment and unhappiness and slow down productivity. Which hopefully is not the result a people manager desires.
Here are some ways you can handle criticism in a more professional and productive manner to keep the morale of your employees high:
- Create a culture of support. Your employees should always know you value them and what they contribute to your company. By complimenting on their work regularly (and occasionally
in public), they will be less likely to be defensive when you criticize or correct them. Rather than your criticism coming off as personal to them, it will come off as you taking an interest in them being the best they can be.
- Never end a conversation on a bad note. You don’t want people to walk away from a conversation with the last thing they heard being critical of their work or character. End on a positive note and praise the steps they take to correct their work or behavior.
- Avoid being accusatory. An example of a bad way to approach such a conversation: “You don’t understand the expectations of this project.” Instead, say, “I sense you might be confused about the guidelines of this project.” Starting the criticism with “you” comes off as very accusatory and harsh.
- Never attack the individual. You should only discuss the behaviors or mistakes you want to change. There is a line you should never cross in these types of conversations — you don’t want things getting personal.
- Make sure the timing is right. You need to be tactful about when you decide to have a private meeting with an employee to discuss their mistakes or behavior. The feedback should come before he or she repeats the tasks involved in the criticism, and should be at a time where he or she seems open to feedback.
Again, there are some exceptional cases in which you may have to give quick criticism in public, but in general, for the sake of employee morale, it’s best to keep it to one-on-one meetings.
Copyright 2015 Viral Solutions LLC
by Thomas von Ahn | Chief Elephant Slayer
Viral Solutions LLC is a Digital Marketer Certified Partner, Infusionsoft Certified Consultant and a Mobit Certified Partner. We help overwhelmed small business owners duplicate themselves – so business can be fun again.