Saturday, February 17, 2007

Constructive Criticism, Part 1: Positively Critical!

At one of my recent training seminars on writing performance appraisals, a participant asked, “When focusing on employees’ positive qualities, aren’t we skirting around the issue that they’re weak in other areas?”

The answer is yes and no. Yes, if you’re dealing with an employee who needs to reverse negative habits by taking immediate corrective actions. No, if you realize that people often overcome their weaknesses by building on their strengths. I agree with Deborah Bright, who writes in her book The Official Criticism Manual: Perfecting the Art of Giving and Receiving Criticism:

Criticism is negative. To try to hide that fact only results in deception. However, when used properly and when sometimes mixed with praise, criticism is an important ingredient in creating fine-tuned performance and maintaining consistently high levels of productivity.

With that thought in mind, I will offer a couple pointers on positive criticism in the coming installments of WORDS ON THE LINE.

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