Criticism is the act or art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of a person’s work. It is part of our daily experiences. We are often criticized in our jobs, school, and various daily activities. Most times, we are the ones who criticize ourselves. Criticism, when offered in the right approach, can cause growth, improvement, and drastic turn around in a person’s life. It helps us figure out the areas where we need improvement and work on them.
“The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”
– Norman Vincent Peale
Types of criticism
1. Constructive criticism:
This is the process of giving out valid and well-organized opinions concerning the work of others. In this case, you address both the positives and negatives but in a pleasant, well structured, and uplifting manner rather than in an oppositional approach.
Furthermore, being able to provide constructive criticism is an important leadership skill. To offer constructive criticism, you point out the problem where the person went wrong, and proffer a better solution.
If you find a fault, you should have a suggestion on how to fix it.
Also, this type of criticism is geared toward improving people and building them up rather than hurting their feelings and causing them to lose their morale. It tends towards problem-solving.
To offer constructive criticism, your critic should:
Be specific: The more specific you are, the more the person understands and wants to improve.
Aim at building up and improving the person.
Address the issue and not the individual
Be conscious of their countenance/ mood: Be conscious of the time, place, and the way the person feels.
Give room for the person to respond (its a dialogue not a monologue)
Try to follow up with the person: don’t just say what you want to and leave.
Bring an alternative approach to producing a better result: offer any solution or advice you think could help
Ensure the person understands the point you are trying to make
Also, you can use the “feedback sandwich method”:
In this case, negative feedback is wrapped with praise. Feedback discussion starts with positives, praises, and strength followed by negative criticism before appreciative words are used again.
It is believed that this method of giving positive feedback first before negative feedback reduces anxiety. This approach also creates a pleasant atmosphere for discussion and decreases the severity of negative criticism. Furthermore, with this approach, the person sees it as a help, not as an attack.
2. DESTRUCTIVE CRITICISM
It is a type of criticism that intends to cause harm, tear you apart, destroy someone’s reputation, effort, and self-esteem. It is also aimed towards showing that someone else opinion or ideas has no value, thereby degrading the person’s abilities and causing public embarrassment.
Generally, it focuses on disapproval and disagreement with something. It is more focused on the problems. It often comes as an attack against a person’s work or ideas.
This type of criticism points out the issues without a solution.
“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.”
– Frank A. Clark
How to deal with destructive criticism
Know your abilities, don’t doubt yourself
Once you notice it, shut it down
Know the source and avoid them: Try to ignore them if possible. Stay off social media if you cannot handle the critic.
Consider the source: Not everyone has the right to criticize you.
Choose which one to accept and ignore the ones that are not of benefit.
How to respond to critics
Listen before you speak: Try to see criticism as an opportunity to improve yourself. All criticisms no matter how badly they are presented can be useful to you. Remember, feedback can be helpful.
Try your best to prevent yourself from responding too quickly or defensively. Just listen and learn.
Listen to understand the point being made (not just to respond).
Ask questions when necessary for better understanding
Realize that criticism is a perception, nothing more.
Ask for help if you need one.
Ask for examples for a better understanding
Learn to let go
Know your limitation: use the critic to your own advantage, use it as an opportunity for improvement.
You can ask for the follow-up to keep you accountable
Ensure you say thank you.
ADVICE: CRITICIZE IN LOVE. DO NOT IMPOSE; EVERYONE HAS A CHOICE!!!