This week I’ve read two pieces about giving feedback that I want to direct your attention to. One is from my co-worker Kendall Martin at the Nitpickers’ Nook blog. In her post “Be constructive with criticism,” Kendall describes the challenge of learning how to communicate criticism when she first began managing people. She hesitated to correct her employees, because she felt she might come off as condescending or judgmental.
How many new managers can relate to that fear? Most, I expect.
But giving negative feedback is a necessary aspect of the job. Kendall, like all managers, had to figure out how to make it work for her and her employees. Read the post to see her suggestions.
The second article I want to share is from Lynn Gaertner-Johnston’s Business Writing blog: “Correcting with kindness.” In that piece, Lynn shares a snark-free note she received from a reader regarding a proofreading error in one of her blog posts. If you’re a blogger, you probably know how rare it is to receive a comment or email about a proofreading mistake that doesn’t have a bit of a bite to it.
But even if you’ve never blogged, you can understand the very different feelings evoked from a correction delivered with kindness and one delivered with an undertone of meanness (not to speak of overt meanness, which is not uncommon either, unfortunately). Lynn’s is a good story to keep in the back of your mind as you give feedback to your team members. It will remind you to deliver criticism in a way that doesn’t undermine their self-esteem or morale.
What’s the best constructive criticism you’ve ever received?