Dr. Greer: I always thank the employee for their comments and tell them that I will certainly consider what they have said. I also tell them that they should feel free to talk to me about any issues in the practice that might need to be addressed. Never act in a condescending fashion, and always act professionally and thoughtfully when an employee comes to you with a problem.
You Might Also Like
Explore This IssueOctober 2015
Also By This Author
Ms. Selby Long: Check your emotions, and remind yourself immediately that feedback is a gift. It takes tremendous courage for an employee to give constructive criticism. But unless you have trained employees and encouraged it, they may not come to you in a constructive-sounding manner. Remember that all gifts don’t come nicely wrapped with a bow. It is key that you say and mean, “Thank you so much for your feedback. I know that it can be challenging to give me feedback. I appreciate it very much.” If you feel that you can act on it right away, say so. If you’re not sure, say, “I will reflect on this and think about what I will do about it.”
The Gift that Should Keep on Giving
One final thought is to not limit criticism to only when an employee needs to improve—there’s such a thing as positive criticism, too.
“Give feedback all day, every day. Employees need to have between three and four positive messages regarding their work for every constructive message you give them,” Ms. Selby Long says. “When the scale tips too far in the direction of criticism, even if it’s constructive, it begins to eat away at someone’s confidence that they can ever perform to your satisfaction.”
Karen Appold is a medical writer in Pennsylvania.
A Guideline to Giving Constructive Criticism
Jennifer Selby Long, management consultant and executive coach, Selby Group, Oakland, Calif., suggests following this template when asking an employee to improve.
- When you do [observable behavior],
- I experience/observe [effect on me/patients/others].
- Instead, I would like you to do [behavior that would work better for me].
- Are you open to considering this alternative?
- How am I contributing to this challenge? Is there something I should do differently?
- I’m willing to do [behavior I’m willing to commit to] to support this change.