2011-9-27 15:15:05 Lucy
Part V Supplementary Materials
When it’s necessary to criticise the work of colleagues it is important to do so in a manner that is supportive and that permits the other person find ways of improving his or her performance. To do this we need to:
Concentrate on the error, not on the person
• Avoid generalizations
• Provide specific examples of the problems that need attention
• Make helpful suggestions for improvement
• Avoid a one-sided attack
• Avoid insinuations and hints
• Conduct the criticism in private so as not to humiliate the other person
Read the dialogue below and make a note of the ways in which John fails to observe the advice given above in his criticisms of Mary’s work:
John: Come in and take a seat, Mary. This won’t take a minute.
Mary: What’s this all about, John?
John: Well I’m sorry Mary, but I’ve come to the conclusion that your work’s just not up to scratch. I need to see a big improvement if you want to stay here.
Mary: I see. I admit I have found these first few weeks a hard, but I need time to settle in and there’s a lot to learn.
(Knock at the door)
John: Come in.
Jane: Oh, sorry John, I’ll come back later, I didn’t realize you were talking.
John: That’s all right, come in. I was just telling Mary that I don’t think she’s really up to the job here.
Jane: No, I don’t want to intrude on a private conversation; I’ll come back later.
Mary: So what are you saying John, are you firing me?
John: No; but I have to say that if this little talk doesn’t make you realize where you’re going wrong, it may come to that.
Poor Mary! John has just attacked the standard of her without giving her any idea of where she is going wrong; on top of that he’s repeated the criticism in front of another member of staff.
By using some of the suggestions below, see if you can rewrite the dialogue so that John offers Mary constructive and positive criticism that will help her to improve her performance:
• Invite Mary to a private interview
• Ask if she is ready to discuss the standard of her work
• Acknowledge the fact that she is new to the company and that there is a lot to learn
• Say that her reports are lacking in detail and accuracy
• Ask her if she is aware of that
• Say that she is often late in the morning
• Ask her if there are personal problems that make it difficult for her to arrive on time
• Say that some of the clients she deals with have complained that she misses appointments
• Ask her if she can explain why this is
• Ask her if there is anything you can do to help her improve in these areas.
• Set a date for another talk in a few weeks to review her progress.
If John conducts the interview along these lines, Mary will:
• Know exactly which aspects of her work are unsatisfactory
• Will have the opportunity to explain why she has problems
• Will not be publicly humiliated
• Will feel that she is getting support in her efforts to improve.
? Brenda Townsend Hall,1998