They say honesty is the best policy, but no one ever says it’s the easiest.
The truth is, dishing out brutally honest feedback can be difficult in any job. It requires an equal measure of constructive criticism and compassion to be effective.
Below are some simple ways to improve your delivery, from Inc.
Start with the positive
Begin with a meaningful compliment to make the person feel safe and more open to receiving information that may be difficult for him or her to hear.
Be mindful of your intentions
Before you criticize someone, think about why you’re doing it. Does this person need to improve for his or her professional wellbeing, or does he or she need to improve because his or her work ethic does not mirror your own?
Offer an alternative solution
Tell the person what he or she could have done differently to better handle the situation at hand. Be calm and remain objective.
Explain what should be done in the future
A person cannot be expected to live up to expectations that are never expressed. Let the person know, in detail, how you would like him or her to behave in the future. Steer clear of attacking his or her character; keep the criticism professional.
Note the person’s strengths
End the discussion on a positive note by highlighting the person’s key strengths. This lets the person know he or she is still respected and appreciated.
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