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By: Chuck Gohn

Criticize Effectively

People make mistakes. That's a fact. Sometimes it becomes necessary to criticize an employee. It is also very painful for an employee to hear criticism. Here are 12 guidelines to remember the next time you have to tell someone that he or she has done something wrong:

  1. Identify the behavior that you want to criticize. Direct you criticism at the action, not the person.
  2. Make criticisms specific. Do not generalize.
  3. Make sure the behavior you are criticizing can be changed.
  4. Use "I" and "we" to stress that you want to work out the problem together, rather than making threats.
  5. Make sure your employee understands the reason for your criticism.
  6. Don't belabor the point. Short and sweet; no lectures.
  7. Offer incentives for changed behavior. Offer to help your employee correct the problem.
  8. Don't set a tone of anger or sarcasm. Both are counterproductive.
  9. Show your employee you understand his or her feelings.
  10. If you're putting your criticism in writing, cool off before writing the critical memo or letter.
  11. Start off by saying something good. Sometimes you only need to remind them what they already know.
  12. At the end, reaffirm your support and confidence in the person.

About the author:  Chuck Gohn is President of The Food & Beverage Manager. For a free subscription to his on-line newsletter send an email request or visit his website at

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