Regardless of your industry, position, or level, you’ll likely need to learn how to give constructive criticism in the workplace. This can be especially true if you’re managing other people. You might also be asked to provide feedback to team members or peers during projects that involve multiple contributors.

Constructive criticism can be a difficult task to do well, especially for people who find it challenging. Here are some of the best ways to give constructive criticism respectfully and productively.

Earn Trust

Having a baseline of trust can help set the tone for future conversations. It can also help you deliver constructive criticism and allow the receiver to accept it. Unfortunately, receiving criticism or feedback from people you don’t trust can be challenging. To make the receiver feel valued, you must first acknowledge their capabilities, believe in their abilities, and show them that you care about their work.


Constructive criticism should be balanced, whether it’s positive or negative. This means you should present a balanced perspective, even if you don’t agree with the exact behaviors or work being discussed. Positive feedback can also help you identify areas of improvement, especially if you have concerns about the individual’s output or attitude.

Practice Objectivity

Constructive criticism should focus on the issue rather than the individual’s actions. This means that you shouldn’t make assumptions about the individual’s identity. A person will lose trust in you if they feel like they are being victimized. Instead of listening to what you have to say, they will likely shut down.

Do It in Person

Instead of using various forms of communication such as instant messaging, phone, or email, giving constructive criticism in person is always better. These technologies are prone to misinterpretation, especially when they eliminate specific contexts, such as body language and vocal tone. Negative statements can be easily read as neutral or dismiss the significance of an issue if they’re not being discussed in person. A face-to-face interaction allows both parties to ask more detailed questions.

Don’t Wait

You should immediately give people feedback on their work, especially if it’s a specific project. This will allow you to keep the conversation relevant and provide actionable insight. You should also make sure that the discussion is focused on the issues that occurred during the course of the work, as well as the future possibilities of the project.


Brian Ghannam _