How To Deliver Criticism With Graceful Honesty

Have you ever had to tell someone something that you really did not want to discuss?

Recently, I am finding myself in situations that require constructive criticism. I believe in positive psychology and positive reinforcement, however, some situations require feedback that may be perceived as less than pleasant. So how do you deliver information in a way that maintains and even enhances the self-esteem of the one receiving this information?

In the past, I did not take the feelings of others into account as much. I was raised to be honest and honest I was – brutally honest. Thankfully, through trauma and a journey of healing, I have been able to find “graceful honesty”.

So, with that said, recently I was given an opportunity to openly discuss some concerns with individuals who I had established relationships with. I have rarely shared anything but positive feedback with these particular individuals, so this was a sensitive subject. Here are a few considerations that crossed my mind before and throughout indulging in this particular discussion:

  1.  Understand that most individuals are not open to negative feedback, so be gentle in your approach.
  2.  Acknowledge the fact that if you say nothing, then there is no communication. As my Dad used to always say, “I am not a mind reader.” Valid point, right?
  3. Be quick to listen, slow to anger, and slow to speak – I have learned that communication is much more effective when you have given your thoughts time to process. When you take time to process your thought prior to delivery, then you will hopefully speak with more effectiveness, and the communication will be more worthwhile.
  4. Psychology is important. It is important to communicate that your criticism is not personal. You may have to convey negative feedback, but that does not define the person you are speaking to. For example, I may not feel that a company has delivered on their services; but that does not mean that I am putting that responsibility on the manager who is working with me on a project. It is critical that you convey this message.
  5. Take responsibility for your delivery and be open to emotional responses. Knowing that people do not typically want to hear bad news gives you insight into potential responses.

Reflection Questions:

  • Have you had to deliver bad news or negative feedback to others?
  • What approach did you take?
  • What results did you receive?
  • Would any of the suggestions above be helpful to you in future situations?

So, what if you are the one receiving the negative feedback? How do you grow through criticism?

I will share my thoughts on this in my next post. Stay tuned!

If you enjoyed this post, then I would appreciate you liking and sharing. Sharing is caring and insight is healing. Thank you for joining me here today. I’d love to hear from you, but just remember “gentle honesty” is the best policy.

With Appreciation

 ~ Nicole

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