How To Critique Without Damaging Confidence: 5 Tips For A Leader

critique without damaging confidence

We actually integrated the sandwich theory into the intervention because we began the session with three of the team members telling the person how much they sincerely cared for him. Then we addressed how serious his problem was and that we could no longer tolerate his being with us if he would not go to rehab.

We had a car waiting for him right outside the building and a hospital ready to admit him. We also had a facility that would take him in after the detox at the hospital. We finally meant what we were saying by telling him if he did not immediately go to the hospital, he would no longer be with us. He agreed to go. It was critical that we were all on the same page in saying what we meant and meaning what we said. Isn’t it a smooth way to critique someone without breaking their confidence?

4. Critique In private

Amy Guettler wrote, “During any critique, do it in person and privately to avoid embarrassing him in front of his coworkers.” I do agree with this with the one exceptional example given above. Embarrassing the person you are critiquing is always the very last resort. Criticism in private is a safe method, as it won’t embarrass a person and break his confidence.

A major league manager once spent three hours with a group of us talking baseball. I had great respect for him because he never criticised his players in the newspaper or broadcast venues. He did tell us, however, there was a time when he was disappointed with his middle infielders.

He called them in private and simply told them, “There still is a Triple A League!” He didn’t have to say they could be demoted there. They got the point. Joe Nameth, the outstanding NFL quarterback, was actually criticised publicly but he still respected his parents. He said until he was thirteen he thought his name was “Shut up!”

Read 6 Ways To Protect Yourself From Destructive Criticism

5. Feedback

Geoffrey James wrote, “Threat criticism as a form of feedback.” Ultimately,  the purpose of criticism is for the person you are critiquing to improve his performance and confidence. To get improvement from your critique, you may want to consider how Geoffrey James continued, “Listen, acknowledge, and learn. You may think you know what’s going on and why something happened, but you might easily be wrong.”

This can happen in the educational world. We once had a girl at the high school level who was bright but simply did not want to study. When we listened to her, we found out she was in a foster home, and in that home, she had seen some horrendous things happen to the younger people there. Given what she was experiencing, studying was the last thing on her mind.

There may be merit in what Ian Maclaren wrote, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

If your goal is to have criticism lead to improvement and to have the person being critiqued, retain his confidence and positive attitude, you may want to consider these five points prior to the confrontation.

  1. Critique the action, not the person.
  2. Determine if the Sandwich Theory of criticism is applicable.
  3. Say what you mean, mean what you say.
  4. Critique in private.
  5. The goal is feedback, confidence, and improvement.

Please share this article with anyone who you may think will find it valuable and helpful.


Written by:  Pat Sullivan
Originally appeared on: Addicted2success
Republished with permission
critique without damaging confidence pin
How To Critique Without Damaging Confidence: 5 Tips For A Leader
Scroll to Top