April 19, 2022 3 min read

We've all heard the phrase: "constructive criticism"…

But how many of us actually know how to give or receive constructive criticism?

Or how to differentiate between what is constructive criticism ... and what is just flat-out poor advice?

If you want to build a better life for yourself and the people around you…

You have to give and take constructive criticism.

What is Constructive Criticism?

Constructive criticism is a way of giving beneficial feedback with specific, actionable suggestions.

Examples include the following:

  • You shouldn’t walk over that piece of garbage
  • You should start putting in more effort at work
  • You shouldn't be so emotionally volatile
  • You should be drinking more water
You get the idea.

    Constructive criticism implies that you are trying to build someone up, give them helpful suggestions to improve, and even hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.

    First, You Need to Understand This...

    Everybody wants to get defensive when somebody tells them something they don’t want to hear, but need to hear.

    You have to fight that instinct.

    Nothing will get in the way of you receiving good advice more than taking offense to it.

    …and here’s the truth…

    If the criticism did offend you, it’s because it’s the TRUTH.

    You can’t be offended about something that isn’t true.

    So push your ego to the side.

    When is Criticism Not Constructive?

    There is a fine line between constructive criticism and spiteful criticism.

    Consider a few things when somebody criticizes you…

    1. Do they have your best interests in mind?
    2. Do you trust this person?
    3. Are they telling the truth ... the real truth?

    When criticism is out of spite, it’s not worth listening to.

    In fact, it may even make you laugh.

    It’s important that you can identify the difference.

    There is nothing worse than taking bad advice, only to find yourself in a worse situation than before.

    Either way…

    If you want the life of your dreams…

    You have to be receptive to constructive criticism, and ignore all other forms of criticism.

    What to do with Constructive Criticism

    This is simple…

    When you receive criticism that is constructive…

    Take it, and apply it.

    Yes, it’s as easy as that.

    You should ask questions as well…

    Find out the why behind their criticism, unless they explicitly state it…

    Find out why they think their advice will help.

    Find out where they learned about this.

    Having a better understanding of why they criticized you will only help you better apply the lesson.

    Giving Constructive Criticism

    Start by relating to the person...

    If you think something will make their life better, explain how it has made your life better.

    Making sure they understand the what, why, and how behind the criticism is crucial, so they can implement your criticism correctly.

    Relate how the change will help them in the future and with their goals.

    It’s their job to have the mental strength to listen to good advice when they hear it…

    But it’s YOUR job to do your best to get your message across in a way that people will understand.

    Explain the Strategy behind your Criticism

    Most people do things a certain way for a specific reason.

    Maybe they were taught to do it that way.

    Maybe they’re trying to accomplish a task in a specific way for a specific reason.

    Maybe they can’t do it another way for a reason that you’re unaware of.

    There’s usually some sort of strategy behind what they’re doing.

    Understanding that, and being able to understand the “why” behind your advice will help them better understand why your way may or may not be a better way of doing things.

    Just make sure you understand the strategy behind them doing it their way…

    ...and that they understand the strategy behind doing it your way.

    Get to the Point

    There’s a lot of talk about “feedback sandwiches” in management circles.

    Go ahead and google it if you want to learn more about it.

    While they may work for some people...

    Others might think they sound condescending.

    So know the person you're giving criticism to…

    ...and talk to them in a way that they’ll respond to.

    If that means taking more time to explain your point...

    Then take more time.

    If it means taking less time…

    Then take less time.

    Either way…

    Get to the point.

    Looking for some constructive criticism?

    Need some life advice?

    Listen to this podcast and get the advice you’re looking for.

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