4 Ways to Effectively Criticize Others to Help Them Reach Their Potential 

Effectively criticizing people in 4 easy steps.

​Criticism is defined by Google searches as: the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes. 

Criticism can be beneficial to all parties involved but criticism is often incorrectly used within our society. 

If time you spent time observing people in all forms of relationships, you would realize that people spent time criticizing people to make themselves seem better than their peers. Other times people would use criticism to help those around them improve and that is exactly how it should be used – to help other’s reach their potential.

How to Win Friends and Influence People,” teaches that the following approaches when criticizing people are the most effective and limit resentment within relationships. 

Here are 4 ways to effectively criticize those around you, who need assistance in correcting their weaknesses so they can reach their full limit:

1) Do not criticize someone just to make yourself seem better than they are. 
Our mouths are vehicles that can be used for many positive things such as progression, unification, and praise but there are times people forget that their mouths also cause the most amount of pain. What we usually say can last years after we have said them. So before you criticize someone make sure it is for the right reasons or their performance may deteriorate and feelings of resentment may develop. 

2) Do not use “but” prior to a criticism, instead use “and”
When you give praise followed by a criticism which uses “but” you often bring into question your sincerity of the criticism. For example, I am proud of you, Debra, for the C+ you received in biology BUT if you had spent more time on your studies you could easily have received a higher grade. This approach praises but also pinpoints the shortcoming of the individual by making it seem like they are not trying hard enough. 

Instead, use the transitional phrase “and” as follows; I am proud of you, Debra, for the C + you received in biology AND if you keep up the hardwork you can reach your full potential. This approach praises and at the same time demonstrates to the individual that there is the possibility for growth and it is in their hands to attain it. It will just take some effort. 

3) Bring up your shortcomings prior to criticizing theirs. 
By demonstrating to others that you also have faults, they will be more willing to accept your criticism because they can see steps you have taken to reach your current abilities and that you, yourself, are not perfect. Plus, we love to have similarities to those giving us new insights. It makes it easier to swallow the criticism pill. 

4) When criticizing an individual, avoid criticizing them in front of their peers. 
If someone is doing something you do not find to be beneficial to not only them but the livelihood of a relationship, job duties, etc it is best to take them to the side to talk to them about the issue – clear of other people not affected by the behavior. This allows the individual to save face therefore limits the damage to the individual’s self confidence which they may otherwise experience.

Criticism can be used for the good of all individuals involved. But often times, we do not approach the situation properly and instead of bringing change for the better with our peers we cause damage to their self-confidence and self-esteem. This causes them to resent you and your criticism. 

If time is taken to approach giving criticism to others properly, you will increase the chances of helping others reach their potential.   


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