Constructive Criticism in the Workplace

In the workplace, there can be sometimes be an unspoken rule of “what the employer says is always right”, but there comes a time when rules can be altered. There can be a case of bosses or supervisors telling you what to do, but rarely them asking for your thoughts or opinions on the task. If there’s something you don’t understand would you rather have your employer tell you again or ask you what’s causing the confusion?

Having someone ask your opinion on instructions can make all the difference in the workplace, not only in regards to the work but also the employer/employee relationship.

“What do you think? What’s your opinion on all of this?”


Asking employees for feedback has not always been part of the traditional management style. As a manager, it is often thought that the microphone of power naturally belongs to them and that employees should fall in line as expected. However, with the new-millennium workplace taking over it is important to note the best ways to give feedback and how is it best received.

Feedback, or constructive criticism, can be just as important for the employer to hear as it is for the employee and it is best received from a person each party trusts. It’s that simple. Without trust, there’s little care factor for what is thought of each party’s performance and little care factor for pleasing people and changing particular habits or ways. If this is the relationship between manager and employee, the only way to make them change their ways is by threat, which does not work well in the workplace. This is not seen as leadership but as command and control.

The truth about constructive criticism is that the words don’t matter whether they came from a negative perspective (“you really messed that up”) or a positive perspective (“here’s another way to do that”), what matters is the relationship between the words exchanged. If the employee trusts their manager, they can handle the harshest feedback because they know the manger has their best interest at heart.

Unfortunately, constructive criticism has been neglected to a certain degree and therefore there has been a gap in the developing strategies and coping mechanism with youth. It is fundamental that there is a strong relationship and a bond of trust between youth and management to aid employees in retaining their employment. This is also a key tool for employers as resilience is not a strong attribute in a high percentage of millennials.


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