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What Are the Different Types of Constructive Criticism?

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  • Written By: E. Reeder
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  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2016
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Constructive criticism is a type of feedback that people can give to others when they are trying to help them improve their performance or point out their strengths. The purpose of this type of criticism is to help build up the person getting the critique so that he or she can improve. It is intended to be practical, and it will not always be entirely positive. Employers, parents, teachers, coaches, and friends, among others, may all provide this useful feedback.

Employers often provide constructive criticism to their employees. One way they can do this is by providing formal performance assessments that highlight the strengths and accomplishments of the employee while also focusing on performance issues and weaknesses that need to be improved. Employers also may informally give this type of criticism by praising strengths and recommending improvements for a particular project without having written documentation. In any case, the employee should be included in developing the goals and strategies to help him or her improve.

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Parents also can help their children grow and improve by providing constructive feedback. When parents give their children criticism that is constructive, they usually do so in an informal manner, pointing out positives while pinpointing needed improvements. Some parents may opt to develop written contracts with their children about improvements that are needed along with strategies to reach the improvements, rewards for making improvements and consequences for failing to do so. It is essential for parents to get the input and suggestions of their children as they come up with ideas for necessary improvements in areas such as grades, attitude, or household chores.

Teachers can offer their students constructive criticism as well. A teacher in a high school course, for example, might conduct conferences with her students to help them improve their writing, to give feedback on a project, or to evaluate their overall progress. Students also should be part of the process of deciding how to go about improving.

Coaches might employ this form of feedback in a different way. They could give their players an opportunity to brainstorm after a game about what they did well, how they were ineffective, and how to improve for their next game. This type of constructive criticism might be less formal and take more of a team approach than some other types.

Friends also can give one another informal criticism that is constructive. They can point out faults or weaknesses that other people might find annoying, hurtful, or bothersome, while making suggestions to and getting suggestions from the friend to whom they are providing these insights. In this case, friends also should highlight strengths or positive things and be sure their criticism truly is constructive and not just critical.

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Discuss this Article

Oceana
Post 10

@OeKc05 – Literary criticism was always hard for me to take when it involved my own writing. I spent so much time coming up with a piece of creative writing that I thought was perfect only to find out that someone else found fault with it. It hurt my ego.

seag47
Post 9

My uncle's constructive criticism helped me become a better singer. We both had always been musically inclined, and when he first heard me sing, he told me that he wanted to help me prepare for my very first public performance.

He said I had an amazing voice and perfect pitch. He wanted me to work on projection, though. I sang too quietly, and I needed to learn to sing with my lungs instead of my throat.

He also helped by recording me singing to a track over and over. I would listen to it, hear where I could have done better, and rerecord the whole thing. I was very well prepared when it came time for my performance.

kylee07drg
Post 8

Non-constructive criticism stunts the emotional and mental development of children. My friend's mother was always down on her, criticizing everything that she did.

It got so bad that my friend developed a stutter and didn't want to go out in public. Parents can do so much damage with their criticism when they focus on only bad stuff.

OeKc05
Post 7

Most of the constructive criticism examples I can think of happened to me in college. You know, during high school, I really didn't get a whole lot of this. The assignments were always so easy that I didn't need it.

However, college was a whole new story. It threw me for a loop the first time a professor pointed out problems with the way I wrote my paper.

Luckily, I got the chance to rewrite it and improve on it. He was very happy with the result, so I got an A. I was very happy with the chance to make it better.

fBoyle
Post 6

@burcidi-- I dislike being in an environment when criticism isn't ever constructive either.

To me, constructive criticism means that the person who's criticizing me wants me to succeed and become better. If someone really want to see you do well individually, their criticism is automatically shaped in a constructive manner.

For example, I have a professor at school that I'm really close with. She cares for me a lot and wants me to do well. When she reviews my papers, she first tells me all the good parts about my paper and then mentions the weak points I need to work on. She says that if I improve those points, my paper is ready to go.

I never feel bad about her criticism. In fact, it makes me feel better because I know I'm on the right track and very close to getting it right.

bear78
Post 5

@chivebasil-- I don't think that there are training sessions only directed towards constructive criticism. But many leadership training programs that are offered for workplaces teach people how to give constructive criticism as part of their program.

I suggest you get in touch with leadership training programs and ask them specifically about that.

burcidi
Post 4

@clippers-- I completely agree with you. I think there is a very fine line between criticism and constructive criticism. Many people think that they are giving constructive criticism when they're in fact only criticizing that person by always pointing out their faults.

I had an employer like that who never ever praised my good work but constantly criticized what I did wrong. I am really sensitive and her criticism started to affect my mood at work and started to reflect on my work badly.

I was talking to another department's manager in general about this one time. And I told him that I don't appreciate constant negative criticism. If you don't provide positive feedback in addition to negative

, it can cause a backlash. Instead of encouraging that person to do better, you might convince them that they are a horrible employee, student or child.

I think some people need to look up constructive criticism definition and really think about the kind of criticism they engage in.

chivebasil
Post 3

Are there any good resources for training people to give constructive criticism in the workplace?

I would like to offer my team some training but I have not been able to find any good information.

disciples
Post 2
I usually avoid giving constructive criticism. Its not like I want to be mean or anything, it's just that I have a hard time judging things and offering useful advice for making them better. In general, my opinions are not particularly helpful.
clippers
Post 1

I think the best constructive criticism offers a balanced perspective. It points out the areas that are bad and the areas that are good. Lots of people neglect this balance but I think it is crucial.

When people think of constructive criticism they often only think of the areas that are bad, but if you do not know what is good how can you make the bad stuff better?

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