Criticism can be a double-edged sword: some people take it as a positive feedback, and some are offended. It also depends on how you deliver your dose of criticism, especially when it’s your employees or subordinates who are at the receiving end.
Being responsible for the performance of your employees, in case they are under-performing or not giving their best, or using techniques that are not in sync with your organizational workflow, you have to let it be known before it is too late. Of course, according to this Inc.com article, you’re never sure how your employee is going to take it. Here are a few things you can do
Give criticism as feedback
Giving criticism doesn’t have to sound like you’re criticizing — it can be simple feedback. Remember that you don’t want to nitpick or put down your employee in front of everybody. You need to take the steps constructively and shouldn’t assume at the outset that your employee is purposely committing the mistake. Everybody plays an important role in the organizational structure and as a leader or a manager it is your job to see that your employees stick to the path you have chosen for your business. So more than criticism it should be feedback.
Make criticism a part of your business operations
If you start criticizing your employees out of the blues they are prone to feel offended. Instead, make it a part of your organizational operations. Let it be known to them at the time of joining that they will be receiving constant criticism as part of regular feedback to keep them streamlined and they shouldn’t take it personally.
Point out the positives first
Don’t jump into the pool of criticism headlong. Just sit for a while, say a few positive things and then express your concern. This way your employees will think that you are not just there to point out their follies but to also recognize their strengths.
Question about alternatives rather than straightaway telling them what shouldn’t be done
Don’t like a particular document or a report? Ask the employee who has created it, whether it can be done differently or whether more data can be used. If you are not happy with the format, ask that person what he thinks about another format? If the design he is working on isn’t up to the mark, just ask him, “Can we sit together for a while and see how this good design can be further improved?”
Don’t target your employee directly
While criticizing don’t forget that it’s not the person you are targeting, but the work he has done. You have a problem with the work, not with the person. This way it becomes your common problem rather than something that only he is responsible for.