How to Critique Your Co-Workers

So something has happened at work that really ruffles your feathers but you’re not sure how to go about putting those feelings of confusion, rage or frustration into words that reflect your maturity and intelligence. Here’s a quick five-point guide to have at the ready to help you navigate challenges with co-workers.
Be Specific
Don’t be vague. Always use specific examples when being critical, such as, “When you gave your presentation, you spent 15 minutes on background information before telling us why you were speaking, or the what your goal was. Next time, could you begin with one or two sentences that give context and tell the team exactly what you want from us?”
Also important: Always remember to ask for the other person’s input and understanding, according to a recent article on Fox Latino News.
Keep it Confined to One Event
Stay focused on the clear difference you would like to see in their actions from this most recent event. Saying things like “You always…” or “You never…” puts people on the defensive. They feel accused and threatened. If you lump the history of your frustration into one big salvo of criticism, it’s more difficult to pinpoint what’s wrong.
Be Timely … But Don’t Give a Critique When You’re Emotional
Make sure to give your criticism pretty close to the time the event happened so it’s fresh on everyone’s minds. If you wait too long, the impact of your input will be lost. Conversely, if it’s too soon and you haven’t cooled off yet, your criticism and focus will lose its thrust, clouded by anger.
Say What You Want – Not Only What You Don’t
It’s important that critique be useful and give someone room to improve.  “You blew it,” doesn’t help at all. Give concrete examples of what could have been done differently, and why you think it would be better that way.
Ask for Understanding
When giving a critique, it is important that the person giving feedback be open to hearing that the input was given without a whole understanding of the facts, or was somehow misplaced. Be clear about your take of the events, and why you think there is a situation that needs to be fixed. Also be open to hearing another version of the events.
Photo (c) Stock Xchng
 

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