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Balancing Criticism And Praise: 13 Tips For Company Leaders

Source | | Expert Panel®

Business leaders have a responsibility to deliver both constructive criticism and encouragement to their employees. Skewing too much to one side of this equation can leave employees confused by their leader’s overly positive or negative focus and unable to improve their performance in meaningful ways.

Below, 13 associates of Forbes Coaches Council look at how company leaders can balance necessary critique with praise for good work. Follow their tips to find a happy middle ground where both types of motivation function properly.

1. Share Personal Experiences

Honesty, transparency and vulnerability are keys to providing both praise and constructive feedback to your employees. Interactive dialogue, including shared personal experiences, is a great way to deliver critique without deflating employees’ motivation. Share personal experiences in an honest exchange, and listen to theirs. Deliver genuine praise to reward them for their honesty, openness and flexibility. – Lillian Gregory, The HumEx Institute

2. Consistently Strive To Be Firm And Fair

As a leader, you should consistently strive to be known for being firm and fair. This means your team can count on you to always give feedback that includes what went right, specifically, and where they can continue to level up, specifically. It’s not a sandwich of good and bad, but rather, reinforced feedback to continue and/or adjust as necessary. – Shelley Smith, Premier Rapport

3. Make Sure Feedback Is Specific

Most leaders give general or abstract positive feedback: “Great job!” “You’re doing great.” But if you’re not specific about what the employee is doing well, they can’t know how to replicate what they did to deserve the praise. This can create a lack of safety for the employee. If you’re not specific with constructive feedback, the behavior won’t change. – Dan Messinger, Cream of the Crop Leaders

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