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Delivering Constructive Criticism

Delivering Constructive Criticism

Delivering Constructive Criticism

Conversation Formulas

How clearly do you communicate when your emotions are intensified? How effective are you in uncomfortable moments. If you’re like most of us, your emotions try and sometimes succeed in overtaking your rationale thoughts. And that costs you in productivity, peace of mind, as well as in professional reputation.

When you have conversation formulas to fall back on, you can ground your emotions in the structure and communicate more accurately your feelings without complications.

Following is such a recipe: Delivering Constructive Criticism

Delivering constructive criticism can conjure feelings of fear, shame, guilt or worry for some. If you fall into that camp, this formula should help. Shift your brain into logically structuring your thoughts to fit this model, and you’ll suspend the emotional disorientation.

Feedback on an individual’s performance should answer these questions:

  • What are examples of what they do/say that gets in the way of achieving positive results?
  • What needs to change to achieve more positive results?
  • What’s the negative result of their not changing?

The following pattern answers the questions and makes it clear to the individual specifically what they need to change and what negative result he/she is producing:

a) Describe the current behavior
b) Describe what you’d like this person to do instead.
c) Give the person a few action-based ideas that might help them improve.



 a) During a recent production initiative, there seemed to be a lot of dissension between the different groups within your department’s team. Meetings became counterproductive when process/procedures previously agreed to were changed and roles/responsibilities were constantly shifted. Tension ran very high in the meetings.

b) I’d like to see you more involved in major agency initiatives, which will help bridge teams together in your department.

c) Take the lead in meetings, in rollouts that affect the entire agency, and reinforce roles and responsibilities in the project.

Stop self-defeating emotions in their tracks by focusing on the structure of the conversation you’re having and deliberating choosing how to respond.

What methods do you use to deliver feedback?

This formula was taken largely from a handout I received years ago in management training. The origin of the information is unknown, so I’m unable to properly source. Thanks to Vera @ Rapp Collins Chicago for sharing this valuable lesson with me.

We also explore formulas for responding to criticism and self doubt.

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