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5 Types of Constructive Criticism

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Constructive criticism is the practice of providing feedback in a way that builds on ideas as opposed to tearing them down. It is a type of influencing that allows people to save face. Constructive criticism is also a type of creative feedback that explores ideas as a team. The following are common elements of constructive criticism.

Building on the Positive

Finding something you agree with and then suggesting alternatives where you don't agree. For example, "the basic design of the page looks great but I don't think customers will like the popup."


Avoid broad and vague suggestions that are essentially meaningless such as "I think we need a more holistic solution."


Avoid dwelling on things that can't be changed such as "this looks great but it's too bad we need to use our brand colors ... I like the color yellow more."


Listen with intent to understand and explore ideas as opposed to forcing an opinion.


Allow people to save face by challenging their ideas indirectly. This is useful for motivating employees and influencing where you have no authority.
Overview: Constructive Criticism
The practice of providing feedback in a way that builds on ideas as opposed to tearing them down.
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