How To Tell People They Suck Without Them Getting Upset

Sometimes I yell at myself.
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OK, the politically correct way to say this is that you are providing ‘constructive criticism’.  But lets get real, most of the time you just want to scream in their face just how much they really suck at their job.

Reality is that you still need to work with this person and try to turn them into a productive person – who doesn’t suck. To do this you need to figure out the best way to provide this constructive criticism without them getting upset.  If you are dealing with an existing employee, you will need to use the trial and error method to figure out what works.

If you are fortunate enough to hire someone, the best way to figure out how to talk to them about improvement is to ask them in the interview.  I’m serious, just ask.  It could go something like this.

We all make mistakes when we are learning a new job or task and no one likes to be told they are doing something wrong, especially when you are trying to prove you were the best choice for the job.  If there was a need provide constructive criticism to you, what would be the best way I could do it so you take the least offense and will be the most receptive to my feedback?

The answer they provide will save you a lot of time and trial and error.  It will also reduce the stress level of everyone because you are showing them respect by talking to them in the manner they asked.  Yes, it can be that simple.

What should you do if you inherit ‘the employee’.  The one that no one wants to supervise.  There is a good article at Mystic Madness that provides a solid 5 step process.  You may need to vary this a little but it is a good starting point.

The steps are:

  1. Discuss the positives and the negatives
  2. Be clear, concise and direct
  3. Be friendly, avoid confrontation
  4. Only use facts, not opinion
  5. Give them a reasonable time to implement the suggestions

Remember this is a general step by step that will help focus your discussion, but it is important to remember that everyone is different and your approach will need to vary based on the person and your experience level.

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