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Giving constructive criticism using emotional intelligence, an outline

Source | | Jennifer Fabiano

Providing constructive criticism within the workplace is an important skill for every manager to master if they are looking to build a successful, high-functioning team. If you’re nervous about delivering constructive criticism to your direct reports, don’t worry, that’s natural. The good news if that you can use those natural reactions to give constructive criticism at the right time and in the right way.

Ladders spoke with emotional intelligence expert Jen Shirkani and Michael Bungay Stanier, founder of coaching company Box of Crayons and author of the upcoming book The Advice Trap, to learn how managers can use neuroscience and emotional intelligence to deliver the most useful feedback that will actually be put into practice.

Constructive criticism definition

Constructive criticism is the process of delivering both positive and negative feedback on a matter to another person in hopes of promoting further development. Whereas criticism is often viewed as only the negative aspects, constructive criticism focuses on growth and progress.

Constructive criticism is a bit of an oxymoron, according to Shirkani. ‘Construct’ means to build something, so something constructive should be something positive that builds an employee up, not tears them down. On the flip side, the word ‘criticism’ is received negatively by most.

“The goal of constructive criticism is that you’re giving feedback that builds and improves, instead of only identifying what’s wrong,” Shirkani said.

Constructive criticism synonym

“I try to avoid ‘criticism’ because it’s almost like right out of the gate it gets people somewhat defensive,” Shirkani said.

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