Constructive and destructive criticism: what it is, rules, algorithms, examples

We are often asked in life, are we happy? And we will think about the answer to this question. But ask anyone, is he offended? And the absolute majority will say that they are offended. Most often, resentment in the human soul can be caused through criticism.

The vast majority have encountered criticism very often in their lives. As children, we hear criticism from parents, school teachers, and later we are criticized by family members and friends, as well as work colleagues and management employees. But is it really impossible to do without criticism? Why is it so important and widespread in human life? And how to properly criticize a person in order to achieve productive work and active action?

As a rule, even a minor reproach causes a tangle of negative emotions in a person: resentment, sadness, anger. If the reproach is deserved, it should be taken not as an insult, but as a lesson. You can even thank your offender - not out loud, but mentally. If the reproach is not deserved, it simply should not be taken seriously. Before reacting to the offender’s reproaches, you should figure out what type of criticism his words are?

Constructive criticism: what does it mean?

This is expressing your personal opinion with the goal of helping a person. The interlocutor evaluates your work or action and makes clear comments that are aimed at improving your activities. Such a discussion can be objective, that is, it can be an analysis or a form of useful recommendations or advice.

The main signs of constructive comments.

  • Objectivity. When a person expresses his opinion, he does not pretend to be true, but emphasizes that this is only his personal position.
  • Accuracy. The critic pays attention to specific elements of the work that seem unclear or questionable to him.
  • Reasoning. The person who criticizes explains his point of view and gives arguments.
  • Awareness. The critic must be well versed in the topic of discussion. He may have professional training or experience.
  • Respect. The person making the remark should not become personal and impose his point of view. It is necessary to treat your opponent with respect.
  • Sincerity. The critic points out not only the disadvantages, but also the advantages of your activities.

This type of discussion allows us to see our weaknesses in order to quickly correct them and achieve an ideal state of work.

Definition concept

Constructive criticism involves the opponent ethically expressing his personal opinion, which is distinguished by a sincere desire to help. Through his actions, he evaluates the activities of the person he criticizes and strives to contribute to the development of his success. At the same time, he gives clear recommendations.

Objective criticism concerns business relationships between employer and subordinate, adult and child, teacher and student. The boss, using it, corrects the employee’s activities. If this does not happen, there is a risk of losing your job for poor execution of instructions.

This type of criticism does not disrupt the child’s development; he will grow up strong and self-confident. It also has an effective effect on the student: it helps eliminate mistakes and increases the desire to acquire new knowledge.

The critic in this case must understand the area affected by the comments. Only then will he be able to give effective advice. There is no place for expressions of emotion here; it is important to state only specific facts. When criticizing constructively, it is important to note the positive aspects.

Destructive criticism

This is an indication of the opponent’s shortcomings for selfish purposes. Such a critic has no desire to help; he does it to offend the person.

The main reasons for such unfounded reproaches.

  • Manipulation. Manipulative influence on a person is aimed at persuading him to take actions beneficial to the critic.
  • Envy. Even if it is a flawless job, envious people will still find flaws and point them out, even if it is not true.
  • Non-standard. If any opponent does everything differently from others, there will be a large number of people who want to unreasonably criticize him.
  • Bias. The critic is completely confident in the truthfulness of his thoughts and does not give the opportunity to refute them.

Useful construct

The main sign of constructive criticism is the clear desire of the one who questions the reasonableness of your thoughts or actions to help you. That is, his words are intended to contribute to your successful solution of some task.

This becomes possible with the presence of several important components. Firstly, the critic must be an expert himself in the field in which he decided to give you advice. Perhaps this is a leader who has extensive experience. And he is quite capable of giving practical recommendations for the employee. If we are not talking about work, then the critic should have his own personal experience in the topic on which he decided to criticize you. Otherwise, all this is empty talk and destructive criticism.

Secondly, although none of us can be completely objective, it is still worth trying to be as neutral as possible about the situation. Only then will it be possible to look at it more fully. Accordingly, the opinion will be expressed with the greatest benefit.

Thirdly, constructive criticism always has specifics. That is, your words, thoughts and actions are assessed not in general, not on the basis of emotions, but according to specific moments, facts, results.

Fourthly, it is important that the critic can provide clear and compelling arguments and examples in support of his opinion. Fifthly, there should be no assessments of you as a person.

Only what you did or said is criticized. Your character, appearance, demeanor have nothing to do with it

Fifthly, there should be no assessments of you as a person. Only what you did or said is criticized. Your character, appearance, demeanor have nothing to do with it.

The rules of constructive criticism also mean that the critic will certainly notice the positive aspects of your actions, words or ideas

This is important because no thought or deed can be all “bad.” The person being criticized feels that he did something right

This is encouraging and helps you calmly accept the rest.

The main differences between these two varieties

Constructive judgments contribute to self-development, while destructive ones destroy aspirations and cause mental wounds. The main feature of valid criticism is the provision of valuable advice for correcting mistakes and improving performance.

Negative reproaches are based on insults and aggression; such appraisers are not responsible for their words, which hurt and reduce self-esteem. If you encounter such an individual, try to avoid communicating with him, this way you will maintain your calm and your confidence will not suffer.

Actions that do not relate to objective judgment:

  • Intimidation. Not allowed: “If you don’t clean your room, you’ll go hungry.” Allowed: “Clean up the house, while I prepare dinner.”
  • Insults. You can’t: “You look very bad, haven’t you washed your hair again?” In general, one should not evaluate external data.
  • Subjectivity. Don't criticize your friend for her taste, dreams and goals.

Why are we so sensitive to criticism?

Many studies have concluded that praise has a positive effect on the result, but various types of comments have a negative effect. We react to reproaches more sharply and remember them faster than compliments. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is evolution. During the evolutionary period, we learned to quickly respond to negative stimuli. In the wild, such signals portend mortal danger, so it is necessary to respond sharply to them in order to survive. Now everything has changed, but we react to troubles in the same way - emotionally and strongly.

Psychologist Daria Milai

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The next reason why we are overwhelmed with emotions when someone criticizes us is a new experience. We have a negative attitude towards stimuli that are unusual for us.

The benefits of objective comments

Reasonable assessment is the most important tool with which we become better, and it also allows us to work on our mistakes. Constructive comments should prevail in professional activities; they are important for relationships with partners, colleagues, as well as with friends and relatives. Without the ability to talk about what you don't like, you will not build strong family, friendship, or team bonds.

Being comfortable with our judgments helps us to be more courageous in making smart decisions, and it also makes us realize that for everyone, neither we nor our work will ever be perfect, and there will always be things that need to be improved, no matter how small. Outside comments identify our weaknesses and give us the opportunity to correct our work so that it becomes even better. It is important to hear the assessment and identify shortcomings that can be corrected, rather than accepting the false conclusion that everything is perfect.

Such a thesis as constructive criticism is one of the important tools for the formation of society and the development of human relations. When we are discussed, it means that we represent something.

Benefits and harms

Having heard objective criticism, you need to listen to it, and not be offended and angry. It gives you the opportunity to become better and work on your mistakes. Such comments allow you to establish quality relationships in your family, at work, and with friends. So, the positive aspects of adequate reviews are:

  • the chance to see mistakes with the help of others;
  • the emergence of a motive for self-development;
  • understanding the interests and needs of the opponent.

Any aspect of criticism affects self-esteem, lowering self-confidence. It hurts a person who takes everything to heart. In this case, you should learn to perceive objective comments adequately.

When is criticism appropriate?

It’s worth expressing your opinion about a person’s work or actions if you want to help him and not to insult or offend him. If a person posts the result of his activities online or presents them to colleagues, he should prepare for comments in advance, listen to them carefully and thank them for the help provided. When evaluating any subject or activity, a critic needs to determine whether he is the target audience and whether he has the right to evaluate this work, since there is a possibility that the shortcomings he identifies will be insignificant and will not affect anything.

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Criticism is allowed to those people who will subsequently interact with the opponent and deal with his unfinished mistakes.

The main feature of all judgments is the relevance of the opinion and the understanding that it will benefit the person being criticized and will not offend him. This behavior should be followed when commenting on a person’s appearance. It’s stupid to assume that she will immediately make an appointment with a stylist just because she was told about it. Criticism should be where without it complete failure can occur.


Before you start criticizing, you need to think about whether you have enough knowledge and experience in a certain area. For example, I didn’t like the dress that the seamstress made to order. It will be difficult to point out shortcomings in such work, because the critic does not have a tailor's education. Judgment should begin with kind words, praise, and a respectful tone. End the same. This will enhance the opponent’s perception of the speech spoken. Sometimes he has something to respond to comments, so there should be an opportunity to do this, because maybe the reason for what happened may be justified. The critic should be prepared to offer possible solutions to the problem.


Criticism-praise is used when the boss is not satisfied with something in the work performed. The following expressions are suitable:

  • overall good, but not perfect;
  • the work is good, but it does not suit our case;
  • good, but you can do better;
  • It’s clear from your work that you tried, but it’s not enough;
  • everything is true, but not on time.

In relation to a child, this method of criticism is used if he misunderstood the task or did unnecessary actions that are not indicated in the task. In this case, communication can be established like this:

you overdid it, there is no such thing in the task, this is already unnecessary;

it’s clear that you tried, but read the assignment carefully;

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ok, but something is missing, let's think about how to fix it.


Criticism-concern comes to a point when the work is not submitted on time. Personal emotions appear in statements. Dissatisfaction can be explained this way:

  • I am concerned about your dishonesty;
  • I am amazed that your report is not ready;
  • I’m not sure that I can entrust this task to you next time.


Impersonal criticism is expressed when there is no desire to name names. For example, in a work team they say this:

  • There are employees among us who cannot yet cope with their responsibilities, but we will not name their names;
  • it turned out that not everyone understood how important this is for us, I hope they understood who I mean;
  • some employees still do not comply with their work schedule;
  • let those who did not find the strength to admit their mistakes be ashamed.


When using criticism-surprise, you need to control your intonation. She should not be indignant, but surprised. This is not swearing with ridicule. Here are examples of surprise:

  • Did you fail to complete the assignment?
  • I'm amazed the report isn't on my desk yet.
  • Haven't you seen your shortcomings yet?
  • I can't believe my eyes. Do you have an error? Not expected.
  • How so?
  • Do you really like your job?

If the child did not do all the work, or made little effort to achieve the result, there is no need to scold him. Suffice it to say: “How sloppily written. There’s still work to be done on your handwriting, but I believe you can do it.”


Wanting to point out a mistake to the employee, but not offend him, for criticism-warning you need to choose a firm, but not threatening tone. The following phrases are suitable:

  • I recommend that you think about the mistakes yourself and draw conclusions.
  • If repeated violations are detected, I will punish you.
  • This is the last warning to you.
  • Next time the conversation will be different.


If the work is not completed as required, some employers are interested in knowing the employee’s independent decision. Then they will ask:

  • How will you fix it?
  • What are you planning to do?
  • How will you correct the situation?
  • What do you propose to do to fix it?
  • How will you get rid of errors?


Examples of criticism expressing concern:

  • I'm afraid this won't be the last time;
  • I think that tomorrow it will be the same;
  • something tells me that next time the result will be unsuccessful again;
  • I’m afraid I can no longer trust you with important tasks;
  • I am haunted by the repeated mistakes in your works (actions).


Hope for correction is expressed in the following phrases:

  • I hope that you will improve and will not make any more mistakes;
  • I would like you to do a better job next time;
  • I think you will cope with the task in the future without errors;
  • I want to believe that you will become more attentive;
  • I hope you can do better.

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What makes a judgment constructive?

First of all, it is a respectful and correctly noted comment about the opponent’s work or actions. Such a review does not imply a hidden meaning and further personalization, a surge of negativity for self-affirmation at the expense of another individual, and this statement should not offend him or hurt his self-esteem. All of the above components do not apply to constructive criticism.

When assessing, attention is paid not to condemnation, demonstration of superiority and ridicule, but to real help, which will subsequently allow a person to achieve perfection.

You need to criticize where this action is appropriate. If you are sure that the interlocutor will adequately respond to your comments, act, but if you notice any barrier and feel aggression directed in your direction, stop, as your opponent will not support the conversation with you .

Before expressing your point of view and pointing out shortcomings, start your dialogue with praise, describe all the advantages of the work that attracted you, ask open questions, discuss. Also, think through your arguments carefully, speak clearly and on topic, and respect your colleague.

How to criticize correctly

When you evaluate another person's actions, it is important that he hears what you have to say. The rules of constructive criticism will help with this:

  1. Express your opinion when you are one on one with a person. Respect your opponent, do not make his mistakes public.
  2. Offer options for solving the problem. Help with advice or action, otherwise the meaning of the criticism will be unclear.
  3. Keep calm. The opponent will respond to aggressive statements with aggression.
  4. Evaluate work in a timely manner. If constructive criticism is expressed after a long time, you will be considered a quarrelsome, vindictive person.
  5. Alternate negative moments with praise. The person will feel valued despite the mistakes they have made. He will try to justify the trust and will not make similar mistakes in the future.
  6. Criticism is a dialogue. Let your opponent speak. Perhaps he could not influence the situation that led to the mistakes.
  7. You cannot criticize by referring to others. Be responsible for your words, otherwise you will be accused of spreading gossip.
  8. When the causes of errors and solutions have been found, leave this issue. There is no need to constantly remind your opponent of his mistakes.
  9. If your opponent is irritated and unable to adequately perceive your words, put off the conversation for a while.

What notes should you not pay attention to?

We often express our opinion, we do it involuntarily, we do not strive to ensure that our point of view is objective. Sometimes we don’t want to help someone at all, we simply talk about our thoughts, tastes, experiences or hobbies, and we can also throw out a flurry of negative emotions on a colleague.

Nowadays we are very susceptible to criticism, we face it everywhere.

  • Internet. On social networks, people leave comments to each other, some are positive, others are aggressive. You shouldn't take them seriously.
  • Policy. Our television screens often broadcast debates between political figures, who, despite their status, subsequently turn to shouting and sometimes to personalities.
  • The science. A community of scientists can become divided over differing opinions on one specific issue.

Don't pay attention to judgments that are intended to hurt or offend you. They are untrue and unfounded. In any group of people you will find a like-minded person who will support you and give valuable advice and recommendations.

Where to start if you want to constructively criticize your opponent

Before building a dialogue, count to 10 and determine your motives; if they are aimed at benefit and help, express your point of view and be sure to justify it with arguments, but if they arose for the sake of your self-affirmation, then it is better to remain silent.

Your remarks should not sound like an accusation - you are not in court, and your colleague is not the accused. Reason, talk about shortcomings, but do it with respect and friendliness. There is a “sandwich rule” that says - when discussing, praise your interlocutor, then point out the shortcomings, and then again say a few compliments.

Rules for constructive criticism

In order for your judgments to appear objective, you must adhere to the following recommendations.

  • Prepare carefully for the conversation, think through all its details in advance.
  • Find the right moment. You need to create all the conditions for comfortable communication; there must be a calm environment so that no external irritants disturb you, and there are no unnecessary people present.
  • Determine whether the interlocutor wants to contact you. Don’t be intrusive, ask him what he’s doing, if he has a free minute, in case he’s very busy.
  • Praise him at the beginning of the conversation. And the opponent will not take the comments so painfully.
  • Speak sincerely from the heart, be gentle. For example: “I’m upset that you left yesterday without saying goodbye, I was worried, don’t do that again.”
  • If you are overwhelmed with joyful or negative emotions, try to contain them. It is better to express judgments in an even and calm voice.
  • Never criticize a person. You should evaluate not him, but his work and actions.
  • Motivate him, tell him about your mistakes, bad experiences in any business.
  • Be more specific, clearly formulate your thoughts: “I want you to stop misbehaving in class, this is a violation of the rules, you are interfering with the lessons.”
  • Prepare yourself, because the interlocutor may flare up, object, or behave aggressively. In such a situation, you need to remain calm, walk away from the conversation, and then continue when your opponent has calmed down.
  • If the communication was successful, end it on a positive note. Say: “You have come such a long way to achieve your goal, it is not easy, you should not give up, you are such a smart and capable person.”

You must understand that in front of you is a living person who has her own advantages and disadvantages, your thoughtless words can hurt and offend her, therefore, if you wish her well, try to objectively express your point of view.

Constructive criticism algorithm: basic steps

I will list step-by-step instructions on what should be done so that your opinion is adequately perceived by the other side. If this is a dialogue between a boss and a subordinate, the manager must adhere to the following algorithm.

  1. Formulate the specific task that you have set for your interlocutor.
  2. Next, explain to him reasonably and in detail what he was wrong about and what he did wrong.
  3. Tell him that you are on his side, make him understand this in every possible way.
  4. Support your colleague, reassure him, say a few compliments and send him to correct the shortcomings.

It is necessary to treat your subordinates with understanding, because the greater the motivation, the higher the productivity. Yelling and insults will make no employee work harder or more attentively.

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Necessary conditions for competent communication

Let's look together at the mandatory principles of constructive dialogue that will help you come to the right decision, allow you not to waste time, teach you to hear your partner and lead to success.

Time frame. The most important thing in solving a problem is its timeliness. People often resort to talking about the past: you didn’t do your homework yesterday; why didn't you call me last week; it should have been ready the day before yesterday

Such requests do not lead to a solution to the problem; they call on a person to make excuses, force them to lie and get out.

Remember - the past cannot be changed. The deed done yesterday will remain there forever. You can influence the present and the future. Therefore, requests should relate to these times.

Talking about the past will be relevant if you are sorting out mistakes to eliminate them in the future. In order for your child to do his homework on time, you need to understand what problem he is facing. He doesn't understand the task, he doesn't have time left due to other activities, he just forgot about the task. And here you decide together how to help your child avoid such a situation in the future.

Wrong choice of interlocutor.

A wife complains to her husband that their child broke a flower pot again. The husband listens silently, but does not offer any options, because, to put it mildly, he is not concerned about this issue at all. In this case, the woman acts destructively.

She should have addressed the child himself, who is a direct participant in her complaint. It is with the child that she can find a solution to the problem.

Subordinates constantly discuss management decisions among themselves. There is no kitchen corner to have lunch; the salary could be divided into two parts; uncomfortable chairs in the office and so on. It would be more constructive to address such questions to management, with a specific proposal.

Using facts.

How often in conversation do we hear such phrases: because I said so; it will be right; you don't understand anything about this matter. These are just empty phrases that do not support any argument. A person does not always know how to correctly use the available facts.

Why is it better to send a child to this kindergarten and not to this group? Because I think so, the wife answers. And what she means by this is completely unclear. Is the kindergarten closer to home and we won’t spend a lot of time on the road? Does this institution have more qualified teachers? Better nutrition?

We solve the problem, not change the interlocutor.

In psychology, there is such a phenomenon as an attempt to change those around you to suit yourself. You should try to get rid of this as early as possible. If you one day realize that you cannot change another person, then you will instantly get rid of a huge number of problems.

You are faced with a specific task. The child does not do his homework. You do not need to break the child and re-educate him, but to achieve a solution to the problem. If he himself is having a hard time, then he needs help. If he doesn't have enough time, then redo his extracurricular schedule. Solve the problem, don't change your interlocutor.

I offer you a list of modern books that will perfectly help expand your knowledge in the field of constructive communication.

How often do you encounter destructive behavior from your interlocutor? Why can't people hear each other? How can this be avoided? What methods do you resort to to move the conversation in a constructive direction?

Learn to speak correctly!

Communication with people occupies an important place in our lives. Without it, love and family relationships, friendships, work, business would not be possible.

As a rule, people who master the skill of constructive communication achieve great success in their personal and professional lives. But how can you learn to communicate constructively? What does the concept of “constructive conversation” even mean? You can find answers to these and other questions in our article.

How to respond to comments

First, realize that they help us develop if we listen to them, calmly listen to advice and extract something useful from it for ourselves.

You should not take any statement with hostility, if working on the project took you a lot of time and you put a lot of effort - this does not mean that the result of your hard work is ideal. Respond to critical comments with dignity, acceptance, and calm.

Also, you should not make excuses to critics; it is better to silently listen to advice and recommendations, answer questions if necessary, and then, after thanking all participants in the dialogue, leave the room.

Peculiarities of perception of critical comments

An indication of the disadvantages and shortcomings, proof and examples of errors.
Criticism is perceived more calmly when it is presented in a gentle form and follows the algorithm:

  1. The first stage: creating a positive attitude, listing the positive aspects of the work done, reporting, praising and appreciating the efforts made,
  2. Second stage: direct criticism, pointing out disadvantages and shortcomings, proof and examples of errors,
  3. Third stage: feedback, waiting for a reaction and responding to it,
  1. Fourth stage: offering help or emotional support, formulating wishes or confidence that further results will be higher and of better quality.

Tips for parents

I will list several recommendations that will help teach a child how to properly respond to objective and biased judgments of outsiders.

  1. Convey to your child the importance of remaining calm. He should not contradict the teacher, make tearful excuses or behave aggressively.
  2. Contact him often so that you know about all the abuse he is subjected to. Be honest with each other.
  3. Teach him to stand up for himself and respond correctly to destructive judgments.
  4. Don't raise a perfectionist and don't tell him that he is to blame for something. Bring your life experience, when you made a lot of mistakes, he should understand that every person existing in this world had to make mistakes.

Adequate perception of all comments and assessments of critics is the key to stable career and spiritual growth. Without self-improvement, you will not be able to lead your work and family life.

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