Giving Constructive Criticism


As a leader, it’s part of your responsibility to effect change, let creativity blossom, and give feedback to correct below-standard work of an employee. How you give that feedback determines the outcome of the changes needed. When you were a kid and your parents told you to do something, whether or not you did it or how you did it, rested largely on their delivery—right? Maybe you put up a stink and did the task halfway, maybe you huffed off and didn’t do what they asked, or maybe you complied. How you give feedback or criticism to an employee can determine the outcome. PrideStaff Financial has some tips to give constructive criticism, and to make sure your staff is receptive to it.


Set the tone by being positive – If you call someone into your office and come right at them with what they did wrong, it’s not going to put them in a very receptive mood. In fact, it puts them on the defensive. Rather than point the finger right away, start out by asking how they are; how’s their week going or do they have anything fun planned for the weekend. Then talk about something they are doing really well or that you are pleased with. The positive feedback communicates that they are not completely screwing up. Be sincere and honest—this makes the employee feel valued. Now is the opening to gently glide into some constructive feedback on what needs to be fixed, and how you might be able to help them should they need it.


Call out the slightest improvements – You’ve met with an employee regarding some areas of improvement, but you’re not seeing the changes you’d like. Even the most challenging employees will do something right. Look for little signs of improvement that you can draw attention too. Something as simple as the document typo that the employee caught is worth shining a light on. It gives the employee a boost of confidence and lets them know they are on the right track.


Show your own strength of character – Owning up to mistakes is not easy—nor should it be or there would be no value in it. When a leader steps up to the plate and shares his/her fault in an assignment or plan that didn’t go well, it speaks volumes to the employees. Let’s face it, no one is perfect and in a business environment it takes teamwork, not turf, to make a business successful. Admitting a part that you may have played in a mishap or mistake is a teachable moment for the employee. It may also cause a domino effect among other managers and executives. If you didn’t play a part in the employee’s mistakes, then ask what you can do to help that employee create some different work habits. What tools can you provide them to educate them on strengthening certain skill sets? Meet them halfway, no matter the criticism, and you will quickly see how giving the right feedback will affect the right kind of change.


PrideStaff Financial, one of the nation’s leading recruiting firms, has the tips you need to create a healthier work environment by giving constructive criticism. Contact our financial consultants today, and find out why PrideStaff Financial is a good fit for your business.