the rules of constructive criticism


1.    Do it now, face to face
2.    Do it in private
3.    Ask questions and listen to the answers
4.    Agree the facts
5.    Criticise the action, not the person
6.    Explain why it matters
7.    Agree a remedy
8.    Finish on a positive

Rule one is only broken when you are angry – that is not a good time to try and provide constructive criticism, and either way it essentially excludes email.
Rule two is important because helpful feedback given in front of an audience often feels very negative
Rule three is essential, because when you get to rule four with the facts, very often you will not even proceed to rule five, because criticism is not warranted

Rule five is the key. Not explained here, I want you to consider this one from your point of view

Rule six reminds us to use these rules for important stuff, for example checking a test result in a timely fashion. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Rule seven & eight… “so next time we will do that differently, thanks for catching up to discuss this, I really appreciate that and also all your hard work. You are going well so keep up the good work. “