How to give constructive criticism (without being a dick).

Giving constructive criticism is extremely challenging and the vast majority of people are horrendous at it.

This is a shame because feedback that becomes abusive versus constructive can not only negatively impact our relationships but they can cause entire teams to crumble.

As a writer that receives regular feedback, I’ve been exposed to both forms. I’ve received feedback that leaves me feeling both challenged and empowered to make something better. And, on the contrary, I’ve received feedback that is downright cruel.

Below, I’ve outlined a few things to think about when providing feedback to others.

1. Focus on the solution not the problem. If you don’t care enough (or aren’t smart enough) to offer a solution to a problem you’re making someone aware of, you should keep your mouth shut. You nitpicking doesn’t make anyone better. Solving, however, is a different story.

2. Don’t say “but”. Everything before the word “but” is bullshit. If you’re going to give someone feedback, don’t try to sugar coat. Cut to the chase. Make them aware of what needs to be changed and then move on.

3. Keep it to three. Giving someone dozens of things they need to work on is unproductive. It leaves the person feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. When offering constructive criticism, keep it to three.

4. Don’t be a dick. Your constructive criticism should be focused on a person’s work not the person doing the work. Insulting someone isn’t called giving feedback. It’s called being a dick.

By Cole Schafer.

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Cole Schafer