What’s the Best Way to Give Constructive Criticism?

The first thing to do would be to make sure you do it in a private setting. Doing things in public can always create unforeseen circumstances that will not be pleasant for anyone.

E.G. Embarrassment, causing a scene, losing trust, etc.

The second thing to do would be to sit down with the person and follow these 8 steps:

1. Use the person’s name.

2. State three positives.

3. State the concern.

4. Reinforce positives.

5. Provide vision of results.

6. Offer your support.

7. Offer suggestions for improvement.

8. Schedule a time to work on the solution.

Example:

1. Hi Desmond. I’m glad you can take the time to talk to me right now.
2. I really wanted to say that you’re doing a great job with your sales. How you handled that last customer was amazing when she was going off on a tangent. You really found a way to connect with her! Oh and the other day when you were $500 shy of closing that other deal, how you decided to split the difference? That was definitely a crucial moment that turned the deal we almost lost into our favor! And that writing you do on your follow up emails? Your engagement metrics are phenomenal! You’re doing better than over half the staff!
3. However, over the course of the last year, I see here that you are having a bit of difficulty with completing your follow up calls. Looking at these digits, I see that you’re about 30% below the department standards.
4. I know you’re a hard worker and your closing rate is off the charts.
5. If you were able to dedicate some more time to making more follow up calls, I’m sure that you’ll be the number one performer in the department.
6. In fact, we can work on it together. I’ll help you along the way to show you some things I have done in the past that helped me in the process of overcoming the obstacles I faced in the sales process.
7. Some things I did to improve my follow up process was take notes of our prior conversations so I could bring up these topics in other phone calls. I also put an alarm on my desk that rang 30 seconds after each phone call, reminding me to get on another call. Maybe these things can help you out in the process.
8. However, what’s more important is that we overcome this together. Let’s set a time aside tomorrow in between 8:00am,-9:00am so you can show me what you’re doing and I can show you what I used to do when I was in this position to see what we can do in improving these numbers so we can help you become the #1 sales person in the department.
What do you say?

Then the third thing you would do is work together on creating a solution to the problems at hand.


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Leonard Kim consults startups and write books. He also blogs at LeonardKim.com.