Constructive criticism

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Constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one. The purpose of constructive criticism is to improve the outcome. In collaborative work, this kind of criticism is a valuable tool in raising and maintaining performance standards.

Constructive criticism must always focus on the work rather than the person. Personality issues must always be avoided. Constructive criticism is more likely to be embraced if the criticism is timely, clear, specific, detailed and actionable.[1][2]

Especially sensitive individuals may adopt a passive, defeated attitude if they view a situation as personal, pervasive, or permanent (see learned helplessness). Others may adopt an aggressive response. In an online forum lacking face-to-face contact, constructive criticism is rare. People criticize the style of writing and grammar, and based on that often make assumptions about the person. They write without consideration for how their opinion will be received, which is not consistent with the idea of constructive criticism. Effective interpersonal communication skills can be helpful to assess the recipient's frame of mind.

Adopting the most effective style of criticism should be tempered by the cultural context, the recipient's personality, and nature of the relationship between provider and recipient. To assess a situation, one should put out exploratory feelers and adopt a perceptive rather than judgmental attitude; conflict resolution skills can be helpful.

As a recipient of criticism, one can benefit by focusing on the constructive elements of the criticism and by attributing charitable interpretations to those who use strong language. By adopting an open attitude to criticism, one may achieve greater personal development and help uncover blind spots. Alternatively, such openness may be subjected to ridicule especially in a cynical or honor-based culture.

Assumptions of constructive criticism[edit]

  1. Criticism arises out of interaction, rather than simply action.
  2. Those who criticize need to value and invite criticism.[3]

Tools for constructive criticism[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ J.R. Hackman and G.R. Oldham. Work Redesign. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Education, Inc, 1980; pp 78-80.
  2. ^ Katz, Ralph. Motivating Technical Professionals Today. IEEE Engineering Management Review, Vol. 41, No. 1, March 2013, pp. 28-38
  3. ^ Walker, Gregg. "Dealing with Criticism". Oregon State University. Retrieved 13 September 2012.