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Things to consider when giving and receiving criticisms


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CRITICISMS can make a re­cipient feel uncomfortable.

They may also cause pain to a certain extent, but there are times when you need to say your observation out of concern. Even this gives you a little prob­lem. You don’t know how some­one will react. You worry that in saying what a person needs to know, the response will not be good for the relationship. At the same time, you worry that if you don’t let the concerned person know about it, he or she might be disadvantaged or even harmed.

If you intend to give an obser­vation, consider the following:

Tell it directly to the person concerned when he or she is not stressed, tired, hungry, and busy. Say it in private. Be gentle and consider the other person’s feelings. Take this reminder from Frank Clark, “Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nour­ish a man’s growth without de­stroying his roots”.

Mention people’s strong points before you give your assessment. Remind them that they have good points, too. It will help them accept criticisms objectively.

Explain your reason for giving an opinion. When people realize the disadvantage of not knowing about what you told them, they will see your concern.

Determine if people are open to criticisms. Some people easily get angry when you talk about their behavior. Instead of appreciating your honesty and concern, they start enumerating your own mis­takes and imperfections. If that’s the way they respond, don’t pro­long the discussion.

If you are the recipient of criticisms, consider the points discussed here. In addition, appreciate a person’s concern if the criticisms are valid. Criti­cisms can make you feel uncom­fortable, embarrassed and hurt – but there are times when in­dividuals (and institutions) need them, too. Be wise in determin­ing the motive behind them.

“An acquaintance merely en­joys your company, a fair-weath­er companion flatters when all is well. A true friend has your best interests at heart and the pluck to tell you what you need to hear” (E.A. Bucchianeri).