June 3, 2011 / 12:00 AM / 8 years ago

Management Tip of the Day: Give criticism with compassion

Employees hold a meeting under a passion fruit leaves grown inside an office of Pasona Group, an employment and staffing company, during a photo opportunity in Tokyo October 20, 2010. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

BOSTON (Reuters) - Not all feedback needs to be critical, but when offering constructive criticism, doing it often is the key, says Harvard Business Review.

The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and HBR.org (http:\\www.hbr.org). Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

“Even skilled managers loathe giving critical feedback. Keep in mind that telling someone they talk too much or they appear insincere is not mean — it’s helpful.

Here are three ways to help make sure your feedback is compassionate, not just critical:

1. Ask permission. Start by asking ‘Can I give you some feedback?’ This gives the person a moment to prepare and evens out the power dynamic.

2. Don’t hedge. Be direct and honest. Don’t try to couch the criticism in compliments — that only dilutes it.

3. Do it often. If you rarely give feedback, then pointing out any unconstructive behavior is going to feel negative. Tell your people what you think - both positive and negative — to build an open and honest culture.”

-Today’s management tip was adapted from “Don’t Be Nice; Be Helpful” by Peter Bregman.

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