Print

Your Career >> Browse Articles >> On The Job/Office Politics

+2

How to Give (And Receive) Constructive Criticism

How to Give (And Receive) Constructive Criticism

Renee Weisman | Excelle

Recently, when I was giving a talk on how gender differences affect the workplace, a member of the audience gave me a new example to use in my sessions. She had been teaching an online course and noted a difference between her male and female students when a poorly worded problem was included in the assignments.

The male students wrote back, “This is a dumb question!” or “This problem is stupid” or some other criticism of the assignment. The female students however, commented, “I must be missing something here” or “I don’t understand this problem”. 100% of the males who commented found fault with the assignment. 100% of the females who commented thought they were doing something wrong!

This example demonstrates that men and women react differently to confusing and difficult situations. Men typically will externalize the issue, blaming the circumstances, the problem or the person who created the issue. Women typically will internalize the issue and blame themselves.

This also applies to constructive criticism. A man will typically hear your advice in terms of how the SITUATION could have been better whereas a woman will typically hear it in terms of what SHE should have done differently. Understanding this subtle but significant difference can make you a better manager, coworker, educator or parent so let’s discuss how to provide constructive criticism so that a man realizes he has some part in the cause and a women doesn’t take it more personally that you intended.

Perhaps you think I am oversimplifying this but I have seen it time and again in my mentoring of male and female engineers. As I described in Winning in a Man’s World, I remember two mentees, male and female coming separately to see me after their performance ratings had been dropped.

The man blamed the reason for the drop in the economic situation and the fact that several clients had held back orders. The woman blamed herself, feeling that she couldn’t do the job anymore and was considering a career change. Now I am not saying that either of these mentees had it right- the economy was tough but the male knew that going in and might have expanded his client base.

The woman, however, took the entire blame and was ready to quit. It took some time but I was able to get both to understand that they had some portion of the blame but that external circumstances and just plain good or bad luck can also have an impact.

Both mentees raised their performance ratings the following year and were subsequently promoted, but I do wonder if we hadn’t had those sessions whether the male would have worked as hard the following year and the female would have moved on.

Next Page: Keep Reading →


+2
  • Greceaaaa2_max50

    grace2U

    over 2 years ago

    786 comments

    Hello
    Nice meeting you here, how are you today i will want us to be friends contact me here with my e-mail address (gracewill32@yahoo.com ) because i have a special reason why have contacted you so that i can send you my photos and also tell you more about myself here is my e-mail address( gracewill32@yahoo.com ) you can also drop me your email mail address i am waiting to get a reply from you remember that co-lour, language or age and distance does not matter but understand matters
    Yours New Friend
    Miss Grace

  • Me_max50

    tslovetowork

    almost 4 years ago

    2 comments

    this can applied even on how to talk my husband without him getting mad at me and saying that I'm Nagging.

Excelle School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use Excelle's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.

Recent Activity

Photo_user_blank_big
MJPritzl received the quiz result of "ISTJ", about 2 hours ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
hanikayali received the quiz result of "You’re a Workplace Etiquette Graduate", about 7 hours ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
techstudent_ar received the quiz result of "You should Think About a Relationship", about 12 hours ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
techstudent_ar received the quiz result of "You should Take It Slow", about 12 hours ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
GLAU received the quiz result of "ISTJ", about 12 hours ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
Gayle316 commented on: "What’s Your Cover Letter IQ?", about 15 hours ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
Gayle316 received the quiz result of "Your cover letter IQ is High", about 15 hours ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
chaseschroeder received the quiz result of "You are Pretty Ethical", 1 day ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
carleyanderson1 received the quiz result of "You are Pretty Ethical", 1 day ago.