So Much for Constructive Criticism

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I’ve always had trouble with the concept of constructive criticism. The definition for criticism is “disapproval expressed by pointing out faults or shortcomings” and the definition for constructive is “to build or improve”. How can you tear down and build up at the same time? On top of that, think about the times you’ve been given what is supposed to be constructive criticism. What part do you remember the most? I’ll bet it’s the negative stuff not the positive.

Many of us are familiar with the phrase; “We learn from our mistakes.” It helps us get past doing something wrong by realizing we can learn from it, be better for it and move on. Yet, many use it as a justification for pointing out to others their wrongdoing. What we don’t think about is most people don’t handle criticism well—even if it is delivered with the intent to be constructive. Our suggestions are taken as a personal attack, even when we didn’t mean it that way.

Instead, I like this phrase better, “We grow from our successes”. We grow when we feel good about ourselves and see something good come from what we’ve done. So I ask you, would you rather tell people what they are doing wrong in order to help them learn, or tell them what they are doing right to help them grow?

The Point

Look for opportunities to catch people doing something good and right and then tell them the good thing they did. Each time you do it, you will build them up just a little bit more. Then instead of having them mad at you, you’ll be contributing to their growth in in a way that you’ve never seen before.

Have An Intentional Day!



About the Author: Joe Price is the author of the Intentional coaching track found in TLC. He has been involved in the corporate training industry for over 30 years.

Gary Dansie