April 29, 2019
7 Ways Strong Culture Makes Criticism Easier to Give & Receive
Giving and receiving criticism is important for the health and growth of any organization, but if it isn’t done well it can create resentments and hurt morale.
Worse, it can harm the company and lead to lower productivity, disengagement and higher turnover.
Having a stronger culture creates a safer and more respectful environment in which employees will find it easier to accept criticism, share their criticism with others and embrace these moments as opportunities for professional and personal growth.
Here are 7 ways to create a better culture in which employees feel more confident in getting or giving criticism:
- Expect respect. Criticism should never be given in the heat of the moment when people are angry about a missed deadline or sub-par work product. Create the expectation that criticism should be given calmly, rationally and in a respectful way.
- Accept it with grace. It’s natural to feel defensive when someone criticizes our work, especially when we don’t agree with their assessment. One way to acknowledge what the person said while also giving yourself time to fully consider the criticism is: “That’s interesting. Let me think about that. Thank you for taking the time to share that with me.”
- Flip the paradigm. Stop equating criticism with condemnation. Think of it as career development guidance or an opportunity to learn and improve.
- Look for the truth. There is often a kernel of truth or a hidden learning opportunity in criticism, even if it seems harsh or exaggerated or motivated by other agendas. Try to understand where the person is coming from, why they said what they did, and what they are trying to achieve.
- Give (or take) action. Encourage employees to make the criticism they give or receive more constructive and actionable. Instead of saying that something is wrong, provide a roadmap to improvement and suggest a few things the person can do that would be better.
- Be on the same team. Invite the other person to have a productive conversation and collaborate with you on finding a mutually agreeable solution or path forward to address the criticism.
- Circle back around. A few months later, have another conversation with the other person to confirm that the issue at the heart of their criticism has been resolved.
Let’s talk about how we can support your company’s efforts to build a stronger culture. You can reach us here.