Just as important as expressing constructive criticism is to accept it
It is sometimes difficult to even perceive constructive criticism as such and then to accept it and to gain a positive effect for yourself from it. But you can learn that! We invite you to think about it with us.
There is a huge difference between people who specifically express constructive criticism and those who criticize everything all day long and have something to complain about everything.
The biggest difference lies in the intent of their actions: if you offer constructive criticism, you intend to help do things better.
Those who criticize non-stop usually only do so as an expression of their own bad mood – or to hurt other people.
In principle, constructive criticism is nothing more than a critical and honest expression of opinion with the aim of improving something.
This is behavior that shows maturity, considered action and respect because the sole aim is to help make the world, things or even the behavior of people a little bit better.
Often this criticism is understood as selfish and therefore quickly has a “taste” when the other person literally gets the criticism, which is meant to be constructive, “wrong”.
In order to avoid something like that, it is often advisable to announce well-intentioned criticism as such and not just “go bumpy”.
It is not always easy to criticize properly. So before you utter one, think about how you will phrase it. Note that constructive criticism has to be positive and should never do things badly, but should show how things can be done better.
Think about how you phrase it in such a way that the other person understands his or her personal advantage. Write in a positive way that does not allow misunderstandings or negative emotions to arise.
Always see your constructive criticism as an aid that you offer the other verbally. You can orientate yourself on three very simple points:
- Always start your constructive criticism with something positive
- Make it as simple and clear as possible without hurting feelings or becoming emotional.
- End every criticism with a positive formulation, a positive outlook on what can be changed in a positive way.
Make sure that you make the other person feel valued, show them how seriously you take them or their cause. Make sure that there can’t be any reason to get angry at your criticism.
There are psychologists who advise using the “sandwich tactic” to formulate constructive criticism. The five steps are:
- Formulate objectively. Avoid phrases like “you miss…”, “you forgot…”, “it is your fault that…”, “but you have to…”. Formulate objectively and globally and not as a criticism of a single person’s actions. Instead of saying, for example, “The way you explain it, nobody understands it!” You could objectively formulate “People deserve a good explanation”. The “message” remains the same, but without criticizing a single person.
- Talking about good things. A golden rule that is not only correct in personal interaction: before you say something negative, speak of the positive first! For example, start with praise, mentioning things you liked. Only then get to the “point” and slowly switch to the negative part of your argument.
- Show examples. Are there any studies to support what you want to say? A newspaper article, training materials, results from others? These are neutral arguments that speak for themselves without attacking your counterpart.
- Stand at eye level. Never exercise constructive criticism from a higher position, also pay attention to it linguistically! For example, phrase “I would explain more vividly so that you can understand it better” instead of “lecturing from above,“ You have to explain more vividly! ”.
- Express trust. It is possible that the other person is now unsettled by your criticism and feels bad. To make up for this, express that you are sure that your counterpart will be successful if they will take the criticism to heart, that you are sure that they will manage to implement the ideas.
And what if I am criticized myself?
Being criticized yourself isn’t always a good feeling, but you too should accept it and think about it. Because ” Self-knowledge is the first way to get better “.
When someone points out your mistakes, they want you to learn from them. And you should see that positively and be happy about it.
It’s not easy to take criticism, but it will help you on your way. Put yourself in the position of your critic and learn to understand what he is trying to tell you. This is how you avoid conflict. As a critic or as a criticized person himself.