Giving criticism to employees can be downright miserable, but it's a necessary part of running a dealership. Some experts recommended the approach of a "praise sandwich," where you delivered criticism wedged between compliments. An expert for Fast Company magazine says there are more effective ways to deliver criticism.
1. Point out what's working as well as what isn't working.
From: The text in your presentation was good, but the charts need work.
To: The text in your presentation was great. We need to improve the charts so they're just as good.
In both examples, you've ditched the contrived structure of a compliment sandwich and related the point of criticism to the bright spot — they form part of a coherent whole.
2. Turn a critique into question.
From: You need more resources to support your presentation's credibility.
To: Could you find any resources that would improve the credibility of your presentation?
In both cases, you’re empowering your team member with a chance to take personal responsibility and find their own ways of improving their work. You’re also telling them to do something through your question.
3. Refer to an authority on the subject.
From: Finalizing financial statements without first shoring up the cost estimate may turn out to be a mistake once we go to the bank for a loan.
To: It says on page 3 of the bank's terms and conditions that they require accurate cost estimates when evaluating financial statements.
You may sound a bit like a know-it-all, and this method may still irk some colleagues. But if you phrase it well, it becomes you and your colleagues against those darn terms and conditions, not you against your colleagues.
4. Frame statements to reflect your own reaction.
From: That sales pitch isn't going to convince anyone.
To: I'm not sure if that sales pitch would convince me.
5. Depersonalize all if it.
From: You made mistakes all throughout the memo.
To: There were lots of mistakes in the first draft of the memo.
Everyone knows you’re saying that your colleague made a bunch of mistakes, but by eliminating the "you," it sounds like you’re just commenting on the memo alone. This makes everything seem less personal.