Corrective Feedback & Criticism

Possessing soft skills or transportable skills play significantly important role in the career growth and of course in becoming an organizational and industry leader.

One of the very important and probably less exercised and practiced skill is providing corrective feedback and constructive criticism. Leaders and managers do talk about this paramount skill that substantially contributes to the development of a quality oriented culture in the organizations but this at times fades away on the office floors and conference rooms where it is direly needed.

Everyone commonly love hearing “Yes Sir, Yes ma’am” and staff also see it an easy way for so-called short term gains. Well, this is one of the ways of creating Comfort Zones that people like to stay in. And you might have heard by Andy Stanley, "Leaders who don't listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say."

Now, on the face of it, organizational managers and staff have to promote a culture whereby the communication remains candid and leadership team is obligated to provide fair and equal opportunities to the staff at all levels to voice their opinions at the appropriate and designated interactions such as strategic, and operational planning, project planning, progress and performance reviews, continuous improvement initiatives, aggregate planning, adjusting and readjusting the plans, reward and recognitions, standardizing procedures and work instructions, conducting training need analysis, organizational climate and quality of working life feedback and surveys so on and so forth. This snapshot mandates and precisely requires a culture of encouraging corrective feedback and constructive criticism by the requisite staff. But on ground, how many organizations and their respective leaders understand and acknowledge this fact.

What is the way to actually incorporate this into the organizational culture? Would talking the talk, and making it part of organizational manual suffice the need? Certainly not! And the organizations and leaders who just want to have this written on the manuals and just want to speak about it without practicing it can’t cross the barriers of mediocrity.

Well, how about practicing it in its essence? Thinking of the situations….

  • Is the junior staff allowed to do it? If yes, how junior staff should provide their corrective feedback and criticism?
  • How to do it to the seniors and peer?
  • How to develop a culture of being a true professional to do it without being scared?
  • What are the sensitivities associated with providing corrective feedbacks and constructive criticism?
  • Do the leaders really appreciate it?
  • How does it apply in digital world?

Many corporate and enterprise arrange to conduct formal trainings to provide the awareness to their staff to get to know about it around the points such as paraphrasing the opinions in suitable words, active listening, acknowledging and negotiating. Yet, rarely, it is used as a leadership tool in the organizations to flourish a trust based culture, developing mutual respect, and a paramount life skill.

Walking the talk, I have been always known for providing corrective feedbacks and criticizing constructively and politely, but at the same time, I would absorb and welcome receiving feedback and criticism. This is a challenge zone and helps developing and exceling you. Thus, it is a bilateral process. Needless to mention, it has got its roots to the culture surrounding both the individuals and the organizations. The point to emphasize is that both organization and the individual professional should be on same page in order to gain the so-called benefits and objectives of this initiative. This has to be an organization wide engagement so that commensurate buy-in and commitment could be made.

You may also choose to watch a short video on this topic on the following link : (

Your feedback and comments are most welcome!!

Zubair Anwar

Senior Member, Author & Reviewer, American Society for Quality (ASQ), US

Senior Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence (ASQ)

Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (ASQ)

Certified Six Sigma Green Belt (ASQ)