We all know folks who sit on the couch with a beer in one hand and chips in the other screaming at the TV. They lambast the coach for the play that was called, as if they’re in a better position to know what to do. It’s so easy to second-guess decisions, criticize people for mistakes, or blather about what you’d do if you were in a similar situation.
The difference is that some folks are in the game while others watch from the sidelines. The former have the courage to step forward, put themselves on the line, and do the hard work, while the others sit in their easy chairs taking cheap shots at them. The least they can do is be constructive. The fact is that it’s a lot easier to criticize someone than to do the hard work.
People who can, do. People who can’t, criticize.
How to Give Constructive Feedback
Some folks are professional complainers. They rant on social media, call people derogatory names, and force their opinions on others. They seem more interested in feeding their ego, looking cool in front of their friends, or building themselves up by tearing others down. But if you ask them to get involved, they run for the exits.
Complaining isn’t a substitute for action.
Here are 10 ways to contribute rather than criticize:
Make people look good. Compliment people in public, criticize them in private.
Have in-person conversations. It’s never smart to discuss sensitive information via text or email because it can easily be misunderstood. On the other hand, face-to-face conversations enable you to look into someone’s eyes, hear the inflection in their voice, and observe their body language. Plus, it fosters two-way conversation.
Avoid ranting anonymously on social media. Some people say things on social media that they’d never say in person. If this sounds familiar, knock it off. Enough said.
Criticize the act, not the person. Make the observation impersonal. Tie feedback to goals rather than disparaging the individual.
Be positive. Show good intent. Feedback is helpful and constructive; criticism is hurtful and damaging. As Shiv Khera, the Indian author, said, “Wise people prefer to benefit from constructive criticism rather than be ruined by false praise.”
Involve the recipient. Don’t preach. Have a two-way conversation. Ask the recipient what they think they could have done better.
Give your undivided attention. Put down your phone. Stop looking at the clock. Yes…the to-do list can wait.
Watch your language. Don’t exaggerate or use hyperbolic words. When you exaggerate a story, you weaken your credibility.
Be conscious of your tone. As Frank A. Clark, the lawyer and politician, said, “Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.”
Confirm that the message is understood. Confirm that key points were heard, and that action will be taken. Moreover, make time to follow up.
Is Your Feedback Constructive?
Are you too quick to criticize? The next time you throw jabs at someone, ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you a catalyst for progress or do you serve as a wrecking ball? If that’s not your intent, be constructive. It’ll enhance your relationships, reinforce your credibility, and strengthen your reputation. But most of all, it’ll move things forward rather than hold things back. You don’t have to come up with all the answers yourself. You can be just as valuable by helping others come up with them. Be constructive rather than destructive.
Check out Franks NEW book, Leadership by Example: Be a role model who inspires greatness in others
Do You Criticize or Contribute?
Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information
How Do You React to Negative Feedback?
Criticism Is Not Feedback
Make Personal Development a Priority
Meaningful Conversations Don’t Happen By Chance
Do You Want to Be Heard or Understood?
How to Improve Your Conversation Skills – 10 Valuable Tips
How to Bring Out the Best in People