Part of working for any company is giving and receiving feedback to grow your career and your business. Many people want to avoid criticism, but if done correctly, it can be a beneficial tool for everyone involved.

What is Constructive Criticism?

Constructive criticism is feedback that is provided in a helpful manner and allows the receiver to improve and grow. In the workplace, there are often systems set up for providing constructive criticism such as reviews or meetings with a supervisor. Typically, constructive criticism is provided in a positive and helpful manner versus a negative or aggressive way. 

Giving Constructive Feedback: 

Use “I” Statements

“I” statements can be helpful in expressing your thoughts or opinions in less threatening way. By using phrases such as “I feel” or “I see” instead of “You did” or “You said”, you are focusing the feedback on your own experience. This makes it less personal and easier to take in for the person receiving the feedback.

Provide Actionable Feedback

Constructive criticism should be about something that the person can realistically improve on. Before you provide the feedback, think of some concrete action steps that you can present so that they have a clear picture of ways that they can improve. This allows the person to see that you care about their growth and aren’t simply reprimanding them or calling them out. 

Only Share the Feedback with Whom it Matters

It’s best to hold off on constructive feedback when you can have a private, intentional conversation or meeting. Even feedback that is given in a kind and helpful way can be hard for someone to take. Avoid sharing the information in large groups or creating gossip by sharing it with other employees who do not need to be involved. Typically this means only talking with the person receiving the feedback, but there could also be a need to share with supervisors or executives as needed. 

Make it a Conversation

Open up the feedback session for questions, clarification, or opinions. When you show that you are also open to feedback, the person you are talking with will feel more comfortable receiving your criticism. Be willing to help them create a plan and ask them for ways that you might be able to help them improve.

Receiving Constructive Feedback:

Avoid Immediately Reacting

It can be difficult to hear constructive criticism. If you feel an emotional reaction welling up, take a deep breath and let it sink in first before outwardly reacting. Assume the best of the person that you are receiving the feedback from and ask questions as needed. Getting defensive only escalates the situation and could end up causing more issues than necessary. 

Make it an Opportunity for Growth

Constructive criticism gives you an excellent opportunity to be able to grow in your career. Approaching it in this way could create more success in your professional life. 

Thank the Person for their Feedback

Receiving criticism can be difficult, but so can working up the courage to provide it. Thank the person providing the feedback for taking the time to give it professionally. They have likely put in a lot of thought and effort to give you an opportunity to grow in your career, showing you they care. 

Ask Clarifying Questions About Ways You can Improve

Make sure you fully understand what the other person is trying to communicate so that you have the best possible opportunity to improve. The more you engage in the conversation, the more you will build trust and a relationship with the person providing you with constructive criticism. 


Constructive criticism is a useful tool for the workplace when done right. It can help you and your employees be their best selves and grow their career and the company. At Viking Client services, we are committed to people and committed to good. Part of that is providing our employees with helpful and constructive feedback. Learn more about our results and how we measure success.

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