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Whether we like it or not, all of us could use a little of advice from someone else in order to better ourselves. The word criticism comes from the word "critic." Constructive criticism is the ability to criticize appropriately, without damaging the relationship or the person. Constructive criticism can be vital to achieve growth, respect and prosperity for both you and the person who is being criticized. There are many ways you can handle different situations, however, when given the opportunity to criticize an individual, it should ALWAYS be done for self-improvement and not to hurt feelings. At the end of every criticism, the main goal  should be to provide healthy feedback in an appropriate manner. 

There are three primary keys to remember during the process of criticism.

Many people are great at giving criticism, however, when the tables are turned and they are the ones being openly criticized by someone else, they are easily offended and  usually take any feedback given to them extremely personal. There is an old saying "If you can't take the heat, then stay out of the kitchen." Likewise, if you are unable or willing to be bold enough to receive personal criticism from others, then DO NOT offer or suggest feedback to others. Constructive criticism should be able to go both ways in a non destructive manner.

This is something that happens quite often. You may walk into a store and see a store manager degrading or criticizing his or her employee in front of an audience. This is the ultimate NO NO! Since the entire objective of feedback is to bring forth a positive outlook, an individual should NEVER criticize another in front of a large audience of people. A person (employee, partner, friend, spouse, etc) should always be confronted in an environment that does not put you or them at risk for embarrassment. Sadly, most people will use this technique because they feel like it makes them look very authoritative and smart. In reality, criticizing someone in a public setting just makes you or the perpetrator look very mean and inconsiderate. If you are in a work setting in which you feel that it is inappropriate to confront someone one on one, you can either speak with the person's supervisor (I would highly suggest speaking to the person first before going off and complaining to their supervisor - otherwise, it's a great way to make fast enemies) or you can ask another trusted employee to sit in at the moment that the "constructive" criticism occurs. This will not only take the tension off of the two people, but it will also ensure that you are not accused of something you did not say. 

The number one problem with criticism is not that people do not know "how" to criticize, it is that they do not understand that their has to be a healthy balance between critiquing someone and giving them a compliment. NEVER GIVE CONSTANT CRITICISM WITHOUT FIRST POINTING OUT SOME GREAT QUALITIES. Everyone has talents and weaknesses. Always pointing out someone's weaknesses without acknowledging their strengths can damage relationships, hurt feelings and kill your reputation. If you are trying to give your friend a few style pointers, it is not a great idea to just tell her that her look is outdated and needs some help. You should always begin with a genuine compliment first. For example, your friend has being using horrible outdated eye make-up that looks outdated and not professional. The correct response would be the following:

"Sarah, you have extremely lovely eyes. You should try this new eyeliner. It works really great and it will not smudge as much as some of the stuff you may have. It would look amazing on you! You should give it a try."

Notice that the criticism first started off with a compliment, then the critique and finally another compliment. The wrong way to give this advice would be the following:

"Sarah, you should try this new eyeliner,
 it will not smudge as much as the stuff you have."
In the second demonstration, some of the same language was used from the first, however, this one did not include any positive feedback.


BOTTOM LINE: Most people do not enjoy confrontation but there will always be a situation that comes up in life where some things need to be addressed up front. These situations are never easy, however, if you think about what you are saying before you say it, and take into account the previous advice, it can take the pressure off of your life and earn you immense respect from those who are around you. People will not only begin to appreciate you as a person, but they will value your opinion and look forward to an opportunity to be critiqued by you because you have mastered how to criticize appropriately! Good Luck!

Tips on Constructive Criticism



"The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit
 (Proverbs 18:21)."