Dos and Doníts for Critiquing Employees Effectively
As a manager, it’s part of your job to critique employees. The trick to being a good manager is knowing how to give constructive criticism. Here are some tactics to remember:
- Schedule the “criticism meeting” one day later than you want to. Force yourself to take that extra time to think the situation through carefully. Most criticism that goes terribly awry is the result of doing it too quickly.
- Don’t bring other people into it. Many managers, in order to try to “prove their point,” bring in “witnesses”—other employees who will agree with what the manager has to say. Not only will this divide your team, but it’s highly uncomfortable for everyone involved.
- Although it’s good to wait a little while, don’t avoid the problem. Giving yourself some time to think things through and come up with a plan is not the same as letting the problem linger for days, weeks, or even months.
- When you criticize, don’t compare. Comparing one employee unfavorably with another employee doesn’t do any good, because they’re not the same people. And the employee you are criticizing will resent both you and your “favorite” employee.
- Be specific when you criticize. For example, don’t tell someone that she “doesn’t follow through on projects”—unless you can point to specific examples.
Adapted from “Dos and Don’ts for Critiquing Employees Effectively,” Communication Solutions, August 2010; (800) 878-5331; www.managementresources.com.