Wisdom From Books

How to criticize – the hamburger approach!

Posted on: June 22, 2010

Offering criticism is one of the most difficult jobs of any leader or any person. We do criticize people in our life. What is the good approach towards criticism.

A good rule of thumb is to focus on the problem, not the person. Always keep in mind that the purpose of criticism is to help the other person become more effective. Criticism for the sake of criticism is not ethical. Keep the following things in mind when giving criticism:

  • Balance the criticism with praise.
  • Focus on the performance, not the person.
  • State the problem privately, in a reasonable tone of voice.
  • Be specific about the facts of the matter.
  • Make sure you have all the facts.
  • Discuss what has to be done to prevent the problem from happening again.

Let me tell you about ‘hamburger’ approach once you decide to criticize anyone:

Commend, recommend and commend.

This means: Begin with praise, insert criticism and end with praise.

Once you involve the other person, it is likely that other person will provide necessary cooperation and you will be in a position to achieve the desired change. That, of course, is the ultimate goal of a good leader. 

Try to balance the criticism with some praise and some encouragement.

Your thoughts?

Note: the above ideas are from the book: Leadership skills – Second edition; Ferguson library.

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3 Responses to "How to criticize – the hamburger approach!"

This sounds familiar. And how did you find time to write blogs in June? =)

Its the most easiest thing in life to criticize, but the difficult thing is not the criticize even if you think you must, i agree that if u want to criticize do it privately and in reasonable tone.
Things are not the same all the time, it is subjective and one must know very well about situations where its necessary to put on the criticism.

I would like to say that INTENTION as well as TECHNIQUE works in criticism. While “technique” deals with “how-to-say”, “intention” deals with “why-to-say” and although good intentions need good technique, bad intention cannot be disguised!

Have a great time!!

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