Many of you are sharing your opinions and difficulties with us regarding the delicate matter of encouraging constructive dialogue in the workplace.
Passing from judgement to constructive criticism in a work team is the first step to obtain changes in the response of who is in front of us.
The first step in helping people improve during a constructive confrontation is to make them feel that we believe in their talents, capacities, and possibilities for success.
Here are some suggestions:
- Don’t criticize or blame. Never condemn someone for being wrong. On the contrary, try and start from the point of view that there is a valid reason for the other person’s actions; put yourself in their shoes and try to understand the reasons for his words or actions. Even if you are right, criticism puts others on the defensive. Instead of criticizing, try to remind yourself that we all have an innate need to feel recognized by other people. Instead of blaming, try and understand what need is a person trying to respond to with their words, actions, or behaviors. Whenever you are tempted to criticize, try and switch to an attitude of curiosity: ask yourself what led them to think or act in a certain way.
- Take what’s good. Openly appreciating a person helps to increase their self-esteem and creates a good ground from which to offer feedback on possible areas for improvement.
- How to get a change from others. Instead of calling or criticizing someone directly for a mistake they made, try and focus on the change you would like them to make. This helps people become aware of their mistake without resentment.
- Eliminate the BUTs. Replace the “but” with the conjunction “and”. For example, instead of saying: “I’m glad you reached the goal, but you came a bit long with the delivery”, try with: “I’m glad you reached the goal. And I thought that next time we should try to anticipate ”.
- Value to obtain changes. Compliments work better than criticism, because as human beings we feel welcomed and recognized by the former and threatened by the latter. When we help people recognize their true potential, they feel inspired to change and improve rather than clam up into a defensive attitude.