Archives for October 2010

There’s No Such Thing as Constructive Criticism

If it’s criticism, it’s not constructive. A client fired me, explaining, “You’re not asking the hard questions!” Criticism: the act of passing severe judgment; censure; fault-finding Constructive: promoting further development or advancement Here’s the litmus test for “constructive” – When I walk away, will she know exactly what to do? Here’s how to correct others’ incorrect actions, and help them onto the right path: 1. Focus on what you want (speak in future tense) rather than on what the person did wrong (past tense). For example, “David, I want you to be here and ready for work at 8:00,” rather than “David, you’ve been late too much.” 2. Be excruciatingly specific. “Michelle, I want you to email 100% of your day’s patient records to me before you leave work,” rather than “Michelle, you know how important it is to update records on a timely basis.” 3. Ask a question if the person’s failure to perform is not the norm for him: “John, it’s unusual for you to miss something like this. Is something happening that I don’t know about?” Not: “What happened here?!” We wish the problem would heal itself, but magic like this happens only rarely. Address it constructively. … Continue reading