Whether it’s in the company warehouse or in the midst of a company meeting, we all feel the need to give constructive criticism to those around us.

The trick is getting the other person to consider your point and not simply dismiss it as wrong or even a personal attack. Effectively giving feedback is an art form that, when perfected, can help to strengthen your relationships, advance your career, and just make your life better.

It does take some practice and experience in giving feedback to get good at it, but here are a few tips that can point you in the right direction.

Take the focus off the person

When the other person feels like criticism is a personal attack, they typically shut down and become defensive, or even hostile. Effective feedback takes the personal factor out of the equation and laser-focuses on the issue at hand.

For example, instead of telling someone they need to stop being late, let them know the team seems to operate better when everyone can start as early as possible.

Don’t beat around the bush

In an attempt to avoid confrontation, some people try to give constructive criticism by dropping hints and hoping the other person puts two and two together. However, this approach can come off as odd or even passive-aggressive – if it is even noticed at all.

Instead, confront the issue softly, but directly. Rather than telling someone, “We’re all able to get here on time,” you could say, “I noticed you’ve been coming in late. Is there something going on I should know about?”

Balance criticism with compliment

They say you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and that same thought process applies to giving criticism in a transportation workplace. Compliments can serve to balance out the harshness of criticism and make it a bit more palatable. For instance, you could say, “I really appreciate you working hard to finish up that project. I think you might be even more effective on the next one if you just step up your punctuality a bit.”

Provide assistance

Sometimes people want to correct something they’re doing wrong, but they don’t know the best way to go about doing it. Always try to offer helpful suggestions for ways to change an unproductive behavior.

So, if an employee tells you they have a hard time being on time because it takes so long to get the kids out the door, ask other employees with children for time-management tips and offer those up as possible solutions.

Check your bias

It’s always important to consider that possibility that you might be misunderstanding the situation, either because you have bad information or the wrong mindset. An open conversation lets someone know you’re open to the possibility that you might have the situation wrong.

To extend our example, you could tell your chronically late employee, “It seems like you’ve been coming to work late a lot. Is that right?” Let them tell you their side, and offer an explanation, before you take action to correct the behavior.

At Cornerstone, we aim to provide our client with workers who are eager to perform well and open to constructive criticism. If your company is in need of this kind of ambitious worker, please contact us today.




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