Constructive criticism is a type of feedback that people can give to others when they are trying to help them improve their performance or point out their strengths. The purpose of this type of criticism is to help build up the person getting the critique so that he or she can improve. It is intended to be practical, and it will not always be entirely positive. Employers, parents, teachers, coaches, and friends, among others, may all provide this useful feedback.
Employers often provide constructive criticism to their employees. One way they can do this is by providing formal performance assessments that highlight the strengths and accomplishments of the employee while also focusing on performance issues and weaknesses that need to be improved. Employers also may informally give this type of criticism by praising strengths and recommending improvements for a particular project without having written documentation. In any case, the employee should be included in developing the goals and strategies to help him or her improve.
Parents also can help their children grow and improve by providing constructive feedback. When parents give their children criticism that is constructive, they usually do so in an informal manner, pointing out positives while pinpointing needed improvements. Some parents may opt to develop written contracts with their children about improvements that are needed along with strategies to reach the improvements, rewards for making improvements and consequences for failing to do so. It is essential for parents to get the input and suggestions of their children as they come up with ideas for necessary improvements in areas such as grades, attitude, or household chores.
Teachers can offer their students constructive criticism as well. A teacher in a high school course, for example, might conduct conferences with her students to help them improve their writing, to give feedback on a project, or to evaluate their overall progress. Students also should be part of the process of deciding how to go about improving.
Coaches might employ this form of feedback in a different way. They could give their players an opportunity to brainstorm after a game about what they did well, how they were ineffective, and how to improve for their next game. This type of constructive criticism might be less formal and take more of a team approach than some other types.
Friends also can give one another informal criticism that is constructive. They can point out faults or weaknesses that other people might find annoying, hurtful, or bothersome, while making suggestions to and getting suggestions from the friend to whom they are providing these insights. In this case, friends also should highlight strengths or positive things and be sure their criticism truly is constructive and not just critical.