For managers, supervisors and business leaders, constructive criticism can be the foundation of greater business success. Constructive criticism, when used right, can guide business leaders—and, by extension, their businesses—towards improvement and success.
Dissecting Constructive Criticism for Maximum Benefit
It’s important for business leaders in any industry to study the differences between constructive criticism that elevates productivity among employees and negative criticism, which can spawn negativity and lower company morale. There are tips you can use when preparing an employee evaluation to foster positivity. These include:
- Diplomatically articulate assessments of employee or subordinate workflow
- Begin the performance critique presentation on a positive note
- Avoid personal criticisms unless these directly affect workflow or productivity
- Present a clear forward, upward and onward direction
Diplomacy for Business Leaders
There is one business axiom that should be at the forefront of all business leaders’ minds whenever a performance evaluation is required: “Place principles above personalities.” By presenting constructive criticism through the prism of principles, a more professional form of criticism meets business goals and policies. In addition, by maintaining business principles and avoiding personal criticisms, a greater level of diplomacy can be achieved.
The Performance Critique Presentation
When critiquing performance, begin the presentation on a positive note. A human resources specialist with an online Diplomacy degree says employees are more comfortable with criticism when they know their successes are acknowledged. However, woven into this positivity should also be “lead-ins” to the most important constructive criticisms that need to be addressed. The script for this might start with accomplishments or goals previously reached. Choose keywords within the introduction that open the door to further advancement in a more constructive manner.
Avoid Personal Criticisms
It’s important to avoid personal criticisms unless these directly affect workflow or productivity. For example, an issue of personal hygiene needs a constructive approach. In many Human Resources departments, some of these personal issues can be critiqued through company training films that expand on company policies and expectations of employee appearance and demeanor.
Present Clear Forward, Onward and Upward Direction
The point of constructive criticism is to help and support employees to grow. For many employees, criticism may be subjectively lacking in diplomacy which creates unclear direction. Diplomatic business leaders need to know and understand the clear line between constructive and negative criticism. Understanding the difference between criticism which motivates employees to perform better and criticism which tears them down is key to being a diplomatic, effective business leader.