I’m notorious for asking for constructive feedback. While positive praise is equally important, I particularly have grown to love the feedback that’s a bit tougher to hear. The reason why is because this is where I learned, grew and developed the most.
However, as a society I believe we have become confused between giving constructive feedback that is tactful versus simply tearing people down.
Part of effective communication is being able to express dissatisfaction and address a problem by helping the other person improve what they can do better instead of flat criticizing their ideas or who they are as a person.
In Mary Kay, one of the many pearls of wisdom I learned is to sandwich every bit of criticism between two heavy layers of praise.
Because I find feedback so important and valuable to the growth and development as individuals, here are some simple guidelines I use to expressing constructive and not destructive criticism.
1. Come from your highest self Before you have a conversation with anyone, make sure you’re coming from your highest self. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and work with them to solve the problem.
When you genuinely care and come from the best of intentions, you are better able to connect and influence an individual or group. Also, keep one eye on the inside to make sure you maintain your integrity.
2. Create an open and inviting atmosphere Some of the greatest leaders meet an individual where they are and taking them to a higher level. That also means mastering the art of listening. Give time for space for things to sink in. Failing to hear what your people are saying you can easily miss what is happening and perfect opportunity to build trust.
3. Never give criticism in front of others When addressing a team or group, the most demoralizing thing you can do is single one person out in front of everyone. This is not only self-defeating and creates bitter resentment, but anyone that was present becomes embarrassed and insecure.
People will and do feel threatened and productivity goes out the window. By taking the role of problem solver, you accomplish considerately more. If you can’t address an issue on a group level without singling out anyone, then speak to the individual one-on-one in order.
4. Gentle in what you do, firm in how you do it Be honest, strong and straightforward. No need to go soft, vague and lack direction in addressing the issue or situation. But it’s necessary to be compassionate and have empathy as well.
That the person in front of you is a real person with real feelings. They are not made of steel so do your best to honor and respect the other person. Remember, words do have impact - they can easily inspire as they easily destroy. Choose wisely.
5. The Sandwich Technique Find something to praise, anything, in the beginning of the conversation and after discussing the feedback (this has to be genuine - no faking!). This allows you to end on a friendly note instead of provoking anger and leaving things on a bad note.
Remember, criticize the act, not the person. When we criticize the person, you invite shame and that just tears people down. Totally not ok! While praise let’s people know that you appreciate them and they will respond by doing even better.
Unless your feedback genuinely serves to support and help the other person grow, sometimes silence is golden.
If you loved this video, sharing is caring. To receive my weekly updates, sign up for my newsletter.
Always keep radiating your beautiful light to the world living life with passion, purpose and meaning.
With Love and Belief in YOU,
“Leaders aren’t born, but are developed and nurtured over time with compassion and love.” – YK