Critiques are essential to growth. They are what help us learn from our mistakes, allowing us to do much better on future tasks.
There is also nothing more humans love than to critique others, but there is a vast divide between healthy criticism and noise.
As a leader tasked with teaching employees, knowing how to critique is an essential function, yet not everyone truly understands the difference between the good and the bad. Next time you meet with someone to go over their performance, evaluate your own method of evaluation!
Judge the problem, not the person.
This is very important, especially if you happen to not get along with the employee. How they act has nothing to do with their quality of work and combining the two is extremely unfair. In discussions, always use “I” instead of “you” to maintain neutrality. As soon as “you” is used, the employee will fell threatened and will become defensive. Explain why there is an issue in a factual way. Often times the mistake is not intentional and placing blame will only work to create resentment.
Once you have explained factually why there is an issue, ask for their input. During this conversation, you will be exposed to their thought processes that led to the outcome under discussion. Do not judge. Simply take in the facts calmly. If they begin falling into a judgmental tone, have them stop and begin once they have calmed down.
Now you can begin to locate where there are any weaknesses in either training, direction or some other aspect. If the mistake was not solely the fault of the individual, it is very important you know what next steps to take to prevent further occurrences.
Now that both sides are explained, have an open discourse on the subject to work toward a solution.
If the employee had any questions or failed to understand something, talk with them about it and clarify the specific points they bring up. Be sure to listen as well. They have insight as valuable as yours and are a great resource at finding weaknesses in policies and procedures.
Once the conversation has been thoroughly exhausted, come up with plans for both of you to take to rectify all of the isolated problems.
Criticism does not have to be negative.
In fact, when properly performed, it is a strong motivational tool that allows employees to develop and keep developing!
Mistakes will always happen no matter how hard we try to steel ourselves against them. When they do occur, the most detrimental thing that can be done is to simply slap the wrists of the mistake maker and move on. Only by talking it out and using the event as a teaching tool can you truly come to accurately see who is the budding talent hidden amongst the employees.
(c) New To HR.
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