Monday, November 24, 2008

Constructive criticism

Recently, while browsing through some of the management sites, I accidentally bumped into this site called, which outlines the significance of constructive criticism :

“Constructive criticism is criticism kindly meant that has a goal of improving some area of another’s person’s life or work. Often constructive criticism refers specifically to the critique of someone else’s written or artistic work, in perhaps a teacher/student setting, that would allow that person to further improve the work or to improve their approach to future endeavors.

Parents also try to employ constructive criticism to help their children improve their lives. The trouble with constructive criticism is that not all people are receptive to it. They may either feel their self-esteem shrinking under criticism, or they may feel that all criticism is negative. This can destroy the intent of constructive criticism.

Communication is loaded with multiple intentions, especially in a parent/child or spousal relationships. Thus people may not know how to actually employ a critique of one aspect of a person without involving their own feelings or frustration that make a critique negative.

Generally, constructive criticism should address an area that needs improving. Constructive criticism should be a reasoned, unemotional response in an effort to teach. In spousal communication, constructive criticism is often shaped as the “I” message: “I feel X, when you say Y.” In parental relationships, constructive criticism generally works best when the timing is right. A child who has just lost a game, for instance, might be better served by encouraging words, rather than a performance critique.

In teacher/student relationships, constructive criticism tends to be far more helpful than a blunt critique of a student’s defects. Questions on a paper and also praise in some areas can make constructive criticism easier to receive. Although, some students do jump to the point and want to immediately know what they did wrong.

In all cases, constructive criticism runs the danger of being perceived as negative. In these situations, it is unlikely that any criticism will actually provide help. Even when a person tries to present criticism in a non-emotional way, it may still be considered a personal attack. The only way to approach this is by truly being constructive, kind and helpful, and realizing that not all people are going to appreciate what you might have to say.”

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