Re: Constructive Criticism (WAS:Should I Say Something?)

Subject: Re: Constructive Criticism (WAS:Should I Say Something?)
From: Melonie Holliman <melonie -dot- holliman -at- TXEXMTA4 -dot- AMD -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 17 May 1999 14:57:58 -0500


IMHO: Constructive criticism talks about what was right as much,
or more, than what was wrong. Instead of calling errors "mistakes",
call them "improvements". Assess the work, not the person (don't
make the comments personal like "you did so and so"; instead
point to the work and say "this doesn't work" and point out why).
If you get one of those who act like you are killing their baby, you
might as well give it up. Giving criticism just causes them to resent
you; some people just don't have the self-esteem to see that getting
something wrong does not make them a horrible person.

When it comes to accepting criticism: I try to consider each point.
Sometimes I implement them, sometimes I don't. When I finally
got my ego out of the way and just tried to get the best possible
doc out the door, my documents got rave reviews and my working
relationships improved dramatically. People are amazed that I actually
want criticism. Few people abuse my willingness to be criticized and
the ones who do would be abusive anyway. And people have found
BIG errors which saved my rear-end because I asked for input. I had
to understand that people were not attacking me, but rather trying to
improve the docs. One little hint: I seldom give "reasons" why I made
the mistake. I just nod and say things like "good catch" or "I'll get that

I try not to provide unsolicited criticism unless I truly think it will cost
the company money for me NOT to say anything. I do try to give good
reasons for my criticism.

The best way for me to make ANY change anywhere is to be a good
example. By being willing to accept criticism, I show others how positive
of an experience it is.

Melonie R. Holliman
Technical Writer
CPD Marketing
Advanced Micro Devices

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Comeau, Lisa [SMTP:Lisa -dot- Comeau -at- MOH -dot- GOV -dot- ON -dot- CA]
> How can we, as writers, editors, reviewers, etc., foster a more
> "constructive criticism oriented" workplace? If we are not asked for our
> opinions, should we give them anyway for "the good of the company"? Should
> we wait until our opinion is sought? (I know in some places, we'd be
> waiting
> until Hell freezes over) How do you personally handle "constructive
> criticism" - both dishing it out and taking it?

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