Plan to criticize anyone today? We’re looking at how to give and receive criticism—by biblical guidelines….. Timing is all-important when it comes to giving a constructive criticism.
And just as important as timing is your choice of words. We are to speak the truth in love. Proverbs 16:21 says that pleasant words promote instruction. And Proverbs 15:1 says "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
Harsh words of criticism are very difficult for anyone to handle, and they can make matters much worse. If you think you need to criticize someone, pray about it first. Maybe even write out what you want to say, and then ask yourself, "How would I feel if someone said that to me?" Choose words that are gentle, loving and timely.
A criticism is not a time to vent all your frustrations on that person. Don't get into: "And another thing," when you decide you need to criticize. Be very specific; cover one issue only, and make certain you are doing it for the good of the other person, not to ventilate your own frustration or anger.
Before you offer this criticism, ask yourself, "Is there some hidden agenda here I'm not aware of?" Watch out for your own hidden agendas and clean those out of your heart before you criticize.
If you're not honestly doing it for the good of the other person, to help them improve, to help them avoid making that mistake again, to help them make progress on their job or in their lives, then you're criticizing for the wrong reason and that's not constructive.
And always remember to combine the negative with the positive. Don't just lay all the bad news on someone; use it as a time to offer positive reinforcement for the things they do right. Example: "I really appreciate the promptness with which you did this work and it is very important to be on time. However, you need to also recognize that accuracy is a high priority, and lately your work has not been very accurate. Let me show you exactly what I mean."
Then ask that person what they suggest. Get them involved in the solution. "Why do you think you're having a problem with accuracy here? Are you starting too late? Are there other pressures that take priority? What can we do to solve the problem?"
If you have a position that requires you to confront, or feel it necessary to offer a constructive criticism, you have a heavy obligation to be sure it's done at the right time, in the right way, and for the right reasons.
Written by Mary Whelchel, founder and president of The Christian Working Woman. ©christianworkingwoman.org Used by permission. Content distributed by WorkLife.org > Used for non-profit teaching purposes only.