The working environment demands proper teamwork, support, and cooperation in order to enhance the efficiency and the general company’s prosperity. The help is sometimes expressed in criticizing. Yet, the wrong approach to criticizing your colleague’s work leads to a negative outcome. A razor burn takes a while to disappear, so does the effect of an improper criticism.
To prevent such protraction in your work, you need to learn the basics of criticizing.
Any task starts with yourself. What’s the purpose of criticizing a colleague? If you are genuinely interested in improving the efficiency of a co-worker and really want to help, it is the right time to express your remarks. Otherwise, if you don’t like the person or have some personal triggers like being stressed, you should leave the criticism to yourself.
Set the outcomes you want to obtain from your criticism. Otherwise, it has no point. For example, you want a project to be done faster. Think of how it can be done to give proper advice. You get the idea of splitting the project into smaller tasks. Express your idea when criticizing. It would be much more helpful than just pushing a colleague to work faster by saying “Your project is going to be late”. Approach your colleague at the right time in a private place so that you will overcome the defensive response. Your criticism won’t be any helpful when your colleague is stressed and stays in front of others. In addition, always watch your tone. Being cordial and sincere will prevent arguments and resentfulness.
Never get personal
Don’t implement your personal feelings into your criticism. Furthermore, you should avoid addressing the colleague by saying “You”. Instead, focus on the situation and try using the passive voice to make it easier. Embody some positive feedback in between your phrases to motivate your co-worker. Mention what was good about a specific piece of work, and what could benefit from a certain solution. After pinpointing what needs improvement, reiterate the positive sides of the work. Finally, tell what happens if the suggested methods will be implemented, and how this piece of work will become even better.
Things to avoid
Don’t fill your colleague up with excessive criticism. Moreover, let your co-worker speak and continue the conversation depending on their explanation. Ask what they could have done differently, to ensure that your conversation is a collaboration, not an incursion. Focus on up to three points. If you cover too much information to be improved, your colleague will be overloaded, and his or her mind will automatically reject the thinking process. It is absolutely like setting too much complicated goals on your to-do list. We get it impossible and start procrastinating, the same is about telling your colleague excessive information.
Give them time
Changes never happen in a matter of moment. The point of the criticism is to give an opportunity to change, which requires time. Let them strive for excellence by giving a chance to participate in similar projects. You will show your trust and dedication to improve their skills.
Express your understanding
The point is to let your colleague know that you are interested in his or her success, and that you collaboration is dedicated to a positive outcome. To do so, offer suggestions and express your understanding by saying phrases like “I genuinely understand the choice you’ve made”. Regular phrases like “Everyone makes mistakes” won’t be helpful because these are just some statements. Showing your sincere understanding turns you on their side and adds reliability into your cooperation.
Your colleague may have failed once, and your brain is ready to make unrealistic assumptions about his or her behavior. Obviously, assumptions will drive your criticism personal. Therefore, you won’t be constructive neither fair about the mistakes that were done. Approach your criticism only with the facts and nothing more you want to add. You don’t need to know the reasons which are the past; your goal is an efficient work of your colleague which is a prospective future. Be open to any feedback, because you will always learn something for yourself.