Skip to main content

Criticism is vital to our progression, whether that’s receiving it or delivering it.

But sometimes it can come across the wrong way, maybe even like a personal attack. So how do you deliver it in the right way?


Comment on actionable issues

Giving feedback on something that can be done immediately is an effective way to solve the issue and start moving forward.

It’s always important to note down things that can be fixed and how to fix them. Instead of just picking up on the negatives, good management is offering help on how to improve. Try this.

Instead of: “Your blog headlines are scaring readers away.”

Try: “I think this might scare the audience, could you be slightly less fearmongering?”


Be Specific

When giving feedback, be sure to be specific with what’s wrong and make it clear so that it can be rectified quickly.

If you’re not specific when criticising something, it can lead to the induvial receiving the feedback being unsure of what exactly it is you want. This can lead to more issues further down the road, which will be unnecessary. Try this.

Instead of: “I hate this, I don’t even know what it means.”

Try: “I’m not sure about the complex wording; have you tried something simpler?”


Focus on the situation, Not on the person

It’s always easy to blame someone for a mistake- hence why scapegoats are so popular. But pinning the blame onto a singular person or a whole team can demotivate them and increase the chance of more problems in the future. Try this:

Instead of: “Your project isn’t working, and you need to delegate more.”

Try: “This project isn’t coming along as well as it could, so let’s try delegating work more.”


Use the sandwich method/ PIP

The “Sandwich Method,” also known as Positive-Improvement-Positive (PIP), is a way of delivering criticism that uses positive enforcement.

It works so that whoever is receiving the feedback, is clear about what they did well and the things they need to improve on can be adjusted, to work better for them.

Giving praise straight away makes feedback a lot easier to take in, and following criticism up with something positive makes the whole experience a whole lot nicer.

Instead of: “You need to fix this because it isn’t right”

Try: “I like what you did with X, but perhaps Y needs something a little more exciting. If you do this, then Y will be up to the same standard as X”

Changing the way, you approach giving feedback can be the difference between having a team that is motivated to work and one that isn’t. Happiness is always linked back to productivity, so putting someone down when they are down about their work when it needs to change won’t inspire or help them in the long run.


For more career advice, give us a call on 020 3176 4790.