Constructive criticism

But if you ask them which of those two words they pick up on most and how
they feel, and most people will say that they feel that they are going to be
criticised. Full stop. Nothing constructive about it.

Experience has shown that, generally speaking, there are three outcomes to
offering constructive criticism.

People either take it personally, they disagree or they react, by speaking to
their friends for their view. More often than not they’ll find someone to give
them the view they’re looking for.

As a result there was little or no gain – but a lot lost. So how do you offer
constructive criticism? By building their trust and showing that you care. By
regularly telling people what you think they are good at – with no ‘but’ and no

Then, when you do come to offer something a little more critical they are
much more likely to take it. You have developed the relationship well enough to
give them confidence that you care about them. That you trust them and they
trust you.

Most people know what they are doing wrong and what they need to work on. Ask
yourself how you can get the other person to say, ‘I have a weakness here?’ and
get them to identify areas that need improvement.

But you need to have built up trust. Rapt attention is the highest form of
flattery. Always being 100% honest and doing what you say you are going to do
and telling people what they are good at.

Another good tip – if you are in that situation right now and don’t have time
to build the relationship, try asking: ‘If you were me, what would you do right

It’s a great line to use when someone is extremely angry with you, because it
forces the other person to see things from your perspective.

It sets off a train of thought that could otherwise be difficult to
instigate. You get to know just how much they want from you. It allows you to
understand and then manage their expectations. It allows you to offer constru
ctive criticism.

Philip Hesketh is a professional speaker on the psychology of

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