What if people can’t handle constructive criticism?

What if people can’t handle constructive criticism?
So you gave someone constructive criticism and he/ she doesn’t see the point or has an opposing opinion about the matter.
 
First thing to do is ask yourself: “Did I give the best feedback?” It happens often and surely unintentionally that instead of giving really good and useful feedback we just blurt out what we think is wrong with people. And no one likes to hear that. Next time before you go to someone saying „We need to talk.“, ask yourself the following questions:

What to do before you give feedback:

  • Are you the right person to give the feedback? 

If you’re giving feedback on a subject you have no credibility in in the eyes of the receiver, then they will reject your feedback. And maybe rightly so. Also, if you want to give feedback about something that you only heard from others and not observed yourself, then it’s also fair for the other to reject it.

  • Is the other person open for feedback?

Be mindful about selecting when to give the feedback. Maybe they are currently having a stressful time or have already been downrated in their past performance review. You may want to hold off with your feedback, see if it’s still necessary in a few weeks. 

  • Are you focusing on what’s important?

Some people have a laundry list of things they want others to improve on. Have a look at what you want to say to the other. Is that really all important? Could you put your ego aside on some of the things and cut the other some slack? Which of these items serve the other more than they serve you?

  • Do you know what exactly you want to talk about?

It’s important to be precise. „Please improve your communication skills“ can mean anything from „upgrade your English“ to „make your presentation more on point for the audience“ to „stop yelling at people“.

How to give feedback on behaviour:

If you decide you want to give your “constructive criticism” on a certain behaviour (e.g. talking behind people’s back, not saying thank you, speaking with their mouth full…) use the steps below to prepare for your feedback conversation. These are questions to get to clarity for yourself. Separating the facts from the fiction in your head. Getting in the right mindset/ attitude instead of talking down to someone from the moral high-ground.
  • What is your intention in sharing this feedback with them?
  • What would be a successful outcome of this feedback conversation?
  • What was the SITUATION?
  • What was the BEHAVIOUR (what did the person do)?
  • What was the IMPACT of the behaviour on you and/or others?
Highlight the good!
Remember: If you noticed something good, use the same preparation and feedback approach!
 
You may also want to have a look at Brené Brown’s “Engaged Feedback Checklist”.
 
Hope this helps!
Nicole
 
PS: Got a question you’d like me to answer? Email me!
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