Home consciousness How to Give Healthy Discipline & Criticism

How to Give Healthy Discipline & Criticism

written by Head Health Nutter October 21, 2009

Ever wonder how some discipline and criticism is helpful while other times it feels like the sting of a thousand wet noodles across your face? Some days we’re just sensitive and take things personally. Other times, however, it’s all in the delivery.

Why? Well, many wise parents and managers already know the secret to constructive discipline and criticism, but for everyone else you might be surprised to know it has everything to do with self-esteem!

The One Minute Manager is a highly effective, easy-to-use management technique that focuses on people. You can find a plaque on the 1-minute manager’s desk as a reminder:

“People Who Feel Good About Themselves Produce Good Results”

So to be a good leader, parent, teacher, manager or all-around great person and communicator, it’s important to phrase your words in such as a way that criticizes the behaviour or results and leaves the person intact.

In other words, you can share your thoughts and feelings about people’s mistakes or performance but make certain to let them know that you still value them as a person.

Why is it important to choose your words carefully?

In a perfect world, no one would have self-esteem problems. Unfortunately, `constructive criticism 101′ was left out of the school curriculum.

Instead, many of our caretakers who were simply trying to help us become better people, defaulted to destructive criticism. They were quick to point out our mistakes but forgot to remind us that we’re still lovable and valuable human beings.

As young children, we took everything personally because we didn’t know better. In effect, being repeatedly told we were wrong conditioned us to believe we’re worthless and unworthy individuals.

How to Give Healthy Discipline

There is both constructive and destructive behaviour. Part of a healthy relationship is openly communicating your pleasure AND displeasure with actions that effect you. Delivered in a caring and supportive way, discipline and criticism has the potential of freeing a person, pet or relationship from dysfunction.

Tips from The One Minute Manager:

  1. To avoid manipulation, tell people beforehand that you are going to let them know how they are doing and in no certain terms.
  2. Reprimand the behaviour immediately.
  3. Tell them what they did wrong, specifically.
  4. Share with them how you feel about what they did wrong – and in no uncertain terms.
  5. Stop for a few seconds of uncomfortable silence to let them feel how you feel.
  6. Shake hands, or touch them in a way that lets them know you are honestly on their side.
  7. Remind them how much you value them.
  8. Reaffirm that you think well of them but not of their performance in this situation.
  9. Realize that when the reprimand is over, it’s over.
  10. Steps 2-9 should take no longer than 1 minute.

How to Give Healthy Criticism

If you already know how to give healthy criticism, please share your insights with us in the comments. For the rest of you, based on the above information and tips from The One Minute Manager, what do you think healthy criticism looks like?

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Lynda Coules October 21, 2009 at 5:03 pm

This is wonderful.Please keep encouraging children. It means the world to a youth,because to often they are getting put down.

Head Health Nutter October 21, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Adults, too, Lynda! Aren’t we all at the very least slightly wounded children? I think everyone needs some compassion, understanding and support.

And yes, you’re right, Lynda. Children are easy targets for the destructive criticism. Even more reason to look for things to praise them for! 🙂


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