Creative Constructive Criticism

Below is an excerpt from my workshop: Creative Constructive Criticism program. For more information see the information at the end of this article. Here are a few tips to consider when providing feedback to your employees.

One aspect of delivering constructive criticism is in knowing the right time and opportunity to address it. Some instances can be dealt with on the employee’s next annual review, while others should be addressed immediately. If feedback is too soon, it could make the employee doubt their abilities and affect their job performance. If delivered too late, then the employee may ignore it altogether and dismiss any help at all. Identifying critical situations can contribute to deciding when feedback needs to be done.

Repeated Events or Behavior

An employee that displays repeated negative behaviors or patterns should be addressed to either stop or further prevent it in the future. Before discussing the problem, the employee should be monitored to ensure the event or behavior is reoccurring, not a one-time incident. Once it has been identified, the employee should be addressed in private. Privately, a resolution can be found to end the behavior and prevent it from happening further without embarrassing the employee in front of other co-workers.


·       An employee is consistently tardy to meetings, although they contribute throughout the session. An employee turns in their reports in the incorrect format, but they are always on time. An employee works hard during the day but takes long breaks and lunches.

Breaches in Company Policy

Situations such as tardiness, improper dress, and poor performance are examples of a violation of company policy. Problems such as these should not wait until the employee’s next review but should be addressed right away. If not properly handled, the employee’s behaviors can start to affect others in the office and disrupt the work flow. Employees should be reminded of the company policy, including guidelines to follow and possible consequences for misconduct.


·       Excessive tardiness or absences

·       Consistent violation of dress code policies

·       Disruptive behavior to other employees

·       Continued unsatisfactory job performance

When Informal Feedback Has Not Worked

Informal feedback includes actions such as a helpful reminder, a discussion in passing or even an email or memo. Many managers will try one of these methods (or another) to address a problem with an employee and keep the constructive criticism to a minimum. However, when informal methods do not work, and the behavior continues the manager needs to find then a form of formal feedback to speak with the employee. Formal feedback, as the name suggests, usually involves a more planned or structured approach, such as a meeting or review. These actions typically allow more direct contact with the employee and can better address the problem, as well as a solution.

An example of formal feedback:

·       Private meetings or discussions

·       Personal follow-up after a particular incident

·       Employee review or appraisal

Immediately After the Occurrence

One of the best times to deliver feedback is immediately after the incident happens. This way, the behavior or problem can be addressed right away. If a problem is ignored and allowed to continue, it can not only affect the employee but coworkers as well. The longer the behavior goes on or, the more time that passes after an incident, the value, and effect of the feedback decreases. Formal or informal feedback can be used, as long as it resolves the problem.


·       Speak with the employee privately.

·       Address the problem – don’t criticize the employee.

·       Find a solution and how it can be implemented.

Constructive criticism can be a helpful tool when used with the intent of helping or improving a situation in the workplace. However, it can be one of the most challenging things not only to receive but also to give. It can often involve various emotions and feelings, which can make matters delicate. However, when management learns effective ways to handle and deliver constructive criticism, employees can not only learn from their mistakes but even benefit from them.

Workshop Objectives

To efficiently deliver constructive criticism, you must understand what it is, how it is used, and its purpose. The following aims of this workshop are designed to help you do just that.

By the end of this seminar, participants will be able to:

·       Understand when feedback should take place

·       Learn how to prepare and plan to deliver constructive criticism

·       Determine the appropriate atmosphere in which it should take place

·       Identify the proper steps to be taken during the session

·       Know how emotions and certain actions can negatively impact the effects of the session

·       Recognize the importance of setting goals and the method used to set them

·       Uncover the best techniques for following up with the employee after the session

Feel free to connect with me to discuss how we can train your management team!

Feel free to connect with me at 520-365-7755 to review any situations you may currently be experiencing. I offer consultations via phone, email or skype

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