Constructive Criticism

Criticism is an expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes. It could be constructive or clearly destructive. This could be aimed at pointing out one’s errors to help the person improve and get better results. On the other hand, it could be used to demoralize someone and discourage them from heading down a certain course. It can also be used for analysis, to determine the quality of something such as an artwork, music etc. How then do we determine what type of criticism is being offered? Who decides what type of criticism is offered? Is it the critic or the person criticized? The aim of constructive criticism is to motivate and encourage the person to do better, by pointing out areas that need to be worked on. If this aim is not achieved, then criticism is not constructive. Considering this, it is obviously the person criticized that can tell if criticism is constructive, the fact that you intend to motivate someone by criticizing does not already make it constructive. You might turn out to demoralize the person and hence defeat the purpose of criticizing the person. Does this mean that we cannot criticize constructively? NO! Having a goal as a critic is not enough to successfully motivate or improve anyone by criticism, you need a plan. Likewise, to criticize constructively, one must have a plan or consider certain things to enable him achieve that goal. The way you criticize a person goes a long way to determine the level of success that will be achieved.

The manner of criticism involves considering different little aspects like the personal pride or ego of the person. We all have different levels of self pride which can affect the way we react to criticism. One must try not to embarrass the person being criticized or to make the person look stupid. Try to make the person realize that others have made similar mistakes. This is not the time to start a roll call of all the mistakes the person has made.
Secondly, place and time also play a major role in your attempt to help by criticizing constructively. People do not appreciate open rebuke especially when it involves sensitive issues. A private discussion is usually more effective than open rebuke. Open rebuke usually leads to rebellion. You will also need to give the person some time (if possible) to think about whatever you have said and to muster courage to make the necessary changes. Another important thing to take note of is the fact that whatever you are told in trust should remain confidential. If you go around talking about the person’s mistakes, you could end up reversing the effect of your criticism.
All this has to do with the critic, but the person being criticized should also open up and humbly consider whatever he or she has been told and make the necessary corrections. Don’t start on with a defensive mindset. You might end up blocking out the message that could turn you around or even shoot you to the top.
With all this in mind, you will achieve a lot more results from criticism, but do not become a fault finding machine. You might end up finding people’s faults so perfectly that you won’t be able to see any of yours. No one knows it all, if I’m wrong correct me and criticize me constructively please.

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