Master art of positive criticism
Most managers don’t have any problem criticizing an employee’s performance. All too often, a manager storms into an employee’s office yelling criticisms. If you behave like this, you will get the point across that you’re dissatisfied, but you certainly won’t solve the problem.
As an effective manager, you need to learn how to positively criticize an employee’s job performance. This involves the art of understanding, tact and patience.
If one of your employees is having problems doing their job correctly, it is a safe bet that they are already aware of it. The employee may just not know how to solve their work performance problems. Most likely, they don’t even know how to approach you to ask for help. Who wants to admit their failures to their boss? Bombarding an employee with insults will do nothing to correct the situation. What they need from you is constructive criticism that will result in a positive solution.
The following steps will assist you in helping, instead of impeding, your employees.
■ Emphasize their positive points. Let your employees know the things that you do appreciate about their work. Do they always arrive on time? Are they willing to take on extra work? Do they write great reports? Whatever the employee’s strong points are, bring them up and let them know you value these abilities. Tell them that you are not unhappy with them, but that you want to change the problem. Your employees will be more receptive to criticism if you approach them in a positive way, instead of attacking them.
■ Stick to the problem. Don’t get caught up in personal attacks. Keep focused on the issues. Calling your employee names gets you absolutely nowhere. Constructively criticize the problem, not the person. Keep away from saying, “You did this and you did that.” Instead, focus on the issues surrounding the problem and how the problem can be resolved.
■ Stay calm. Yelling at an employee does not make them function better. They have to want to improve. With your calm, patient guidance, you will see improvement. Screaming, jumping up and down and threatening are ridiculous tactics.
■ Get your employee’s input. Work with your employee to find a solution that you both agree on. Often, merely pointing out the problem to the employee is all it takes. But if you need to intercede, make sure you get input from the employee on what they think will work.
■ Let them know you support them. Show them you have confidence in their ability and are behind them. Employees appreciate your faith in them and will try to live up to your expectations.
■ Keep in contact. A good manager keeps in touch with their employees. Good follow-through is essential in correcting problems. Don’t hang over their shoulder, but show genuine concern by following their progress.
Positive criticism is not difficult and it is effective. You must keep in mind that to help your employees succeed, you need to develop the art of understanding, tact and patience.