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Situation: They did it wrong. - Lindsey Kuper [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Lindsey Kuper

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Situation: They did it wrong. [Nov. 14th, 2005|04:39 pm]
Lindsey Kuper

Wrong Response:
Say, "You did it wrong."

Right Response:
Say, "Hey, how's it going? Do you need any help?"
They'll say it's done.
Thank them for getting it done. Say, "I have a few questions."
Tell them what the problems are in as self-deprecating a manner as possible; for example, instead of saying "You forgot the widget," say, "I couldn't find the widget. Am I looking in the wrong place?" Eventually they'll figure out that they did it wrong. Then, be sure to thank them again.

If I ever slip up and tell you that you did it wrong, then please don't be offended. Rather, take it as a sign of my respect for you -- I'm trying not to waste your time.

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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2005-11-15 07:50 pm (UTC)
Hah. Awesome.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2005-11-15 11:07 pm (UTC)
You did, but we were on the train and it was loud and I was sleepy, so I could probably use a refresher.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2005-11-17 06:07 am (UTC)
Yeah. You only get to play one "we're doing it wrong" card -- it turns into a joke after that. So you need to be sure and use it for the right thing!
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[User Picture]From: fellow_traveler
2005-11-15 01:35 am (UTC)
I hate the fact that this is necessary. When someone tells me something that's just wrong, and I can see that it's wrong, it just fills me with despair that I have to deal with this person to do whatever it is I need to do.

It's like, On second thought, why don't you go home, I'll take care of it. Yeah, thanks, bye.
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[User Picture]From: underwhelm
2005-11-15 02:01 am (UTC)
Yeah, no.

I'm satisfied avoiding excess verbage and not couching criticisms in feel-good puffery. Playing guessing games is for idiots who like to torture their significant other, not for getting business done.
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[User Picture]From: eliciel
2005-11-15 03:57 am (UTC)

beg to differ

What's the context?
If its in a classroom setting, then yes. If you're supervising an intern, then that makes sense. In those scenarios, you'd want the person to figure it out on their own.

However, if you're in a workplace, I'd say be a little more direct and never be self-depriciative. Rather, speak in as objective a voice as possible. Talk about stuff that anyone can see.
I agree with you about just saying, "You did it wrong" and leaving at that as being stupid. I'm one of those people that, if I do it, its because I think I'm doing it right, so you need to point out when I'm doing something wrong because I won't just notice it on my own. I really appreciate comments like, "The widget is missing" because they aren't self-depriciative to the teller (which seems passive-agressive to me) and they aren't critical like "You forgot the widget." They're just observable facts.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2005-11-15 04:09 am (UTC)

Re: beg to differ

"You forgot the widget."

Oh, that's better! I'm changing it to that!
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2005-11-15 04:10 am (UTC)
(This is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, by the way. =) )
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[User Picture]From: eliciel
2005-11-15 05:19 am (UTC)
Oooooooh.
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[User Picture]From: eliciel
2005-11-15 05:20 am (UTC)
^ = dense
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2005-11-15 07:56 pm (UTC)
No, you're not. Lots of times it's hard for people to tell whether I'm joking or not. Sometimes it's hard for me to tell.
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[User Picture]From: leadsynth
2005-11-15 05:28 am (UTC)
J.P. just finished draft #7 of Snap, the culmination of about 9 solid months of writing and editing. You know what he told me? "I love getting feedback, especially criticism, because then I know how to make my work better."

He never takes it personally. If I only had that attitude.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2005-11-15 07:54 pm (UTC)
When you know what you've done is pretty good, but you just don't know how to make it any better, the time is ripe for constructive criticism. The trick is to surround yourself with people who know how to take things from good to great. That's what J.P. has done.
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[User Picture]From: leadsynth
2005-11-16 04:17 am (UTC)
That's what I do, every day at work. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at accepting criticism. I wish people would just accept what I do instead of offering suggestions for improvement.

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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2005-11-16 09:17 am (UTC)
Well, like J.P. said, that's what helps one get better. If they always just said "Good job" and left it at that, then you wouldn't improve.
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[User Picture]From: cerulicante
2005-11-15 11:48 pm (UTC)
The most important part of criticism is the perception of the receiver. That is to say, if you are known to be a nice person who genuinely does want to be helpful and doesn't hold grudges or fly off the handle, then your correction, whether direct, or couched in fluff, is going to be taken well. The best example is when you try on a pair of jeans and your bestest friend grimaces and suggests something else. You know your friend wants what's best for you, so you eagerly listen.

If, though, you are a gruff and unpleasant bastard that poisons the air with hate and meanness...then it doesn't matter what you say or how you say it.


I work under post-docs, other students, technicians and professors and I work over some other post-docs, students and technicians in certain areas and this is the one thing I have found to be the most true, whether there is authority involved or not.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2005-11-18 05:07 am (UTC)
I hear that. Either one of the responses above could come off as helpful or hateful, I guess.
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