Praise and positive reinforcement help to motivate group members. Criticism is also recognition. It shows your concern, points to the work done — even if it wasn’t done as it might have been. Critical feedback can be a vital learning experience.
|QUALITIES OF EFFECTIVE FEEDBACK
Feedback is not just a request for change in behavior. In human relationships, it may well be the beginning of the process of mutual acceptance.
- Focus on behaviors rather than the person. Focus on behaviors that can be changed.
- Focus on observations rather than inferences.
- Focus on description rather than judgments.
- Focus on sharing ideas and information rather than advice.
|WHEN YOU HAVE TO MIX CRITICISM WITH PRAISE…
You can avoid the sandwich technique and make the effect you want if you do this:
Avoid history. Don’t take the occasion to bring out a laundry list of mistakes.
- Start with the negative.
- Get agreement.
- Devise and get a commitment for remedial action.
- Give the plus points that are due.
- Don’t go back to the negative.
|USE CRITICISM CONSTRUCTIVELY TO BUILD UP, NOT TEAR DOWN
- Think of criticism as a way to develop people and teach them skills.
- Focus on protecting your member’s self-esteem.
- Pick a suitable time and place.
- Be flexible in how you evaluate different individuals.
- Get the person involved (have dialogue).
- Use “I” statements, rather than accusatory “you” statements.
- Move the criticism into the future by offering solutions.
- Follow up after you’ve given criticism to someone.
|PERSONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
- An awareness that I am a person with feelings, and that I can live with the fact that my feelings influence me and my communication.
- A tolerance of other people’s feelings and an awareness that their feelings, which may be different than mine, affect their sending and receiving communications.
- The intention as sender to build feelings of security in the receiver.
|WHEN YOU’RE ON THE RECEIVING END…
Remember that not all feedback is criticism. View it as a chance for others to tell you how you are doing. Accept it and use it to your benefit.
- Focus on content, not delivery.
- Ask questions to identify trouble spots.
- Keep your tone non-confrontational.
- Seek out feedback.
ADAPTED FROM COUGAR CLUES, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA–MORRIS