An Anger Management Course Should Teach Criticism Techniques
When people think of an anger management course they usually think of self control techniques. However, even if you learn all those anger management techniques you will still have to deal with people in a way that doesn’t anger either one of you. That is why criticism training is such an important part of an anger management course.
According to the dictionary the definition of criticism is to openly find fault with. Going by that meaning and that most of us haven’t received training in how to provide it, it’s no wonder that criticism is often causes anger management problems. Because of this, training in how to give criticism should be an important part of any anger management course.
Giving feedback can be just as, if not even more stressful than receiving it. Studies have shown that people who are about to offer feedback are often concerned that they or the other person may get angry at them and that they will not know how to use anger management to deal with the others reaction.
My anger management course teaches you to redefine criticism and change the way its provided. Surprisingly, a number of research studies have shown that people actually want to know what they do well, what they need to improve, and what others believe their strengths and weaknesses are. Most people want to do a good job or be a good spouse or friend and are oftentimes eager to improve. So the trick to providing feedback as a good anger management technique is to redefine it as something that emphasizes teaching rather than finding fault and running someone down.
In his outstanding book, “Criticism Management: How to More Effectively Give, Receive, and Seek Criticism in Our Lives” Randy Garner outlines an alternate definition of criticism that he calls “G.R.I.P.E.” which emphasizes criticism as an opportunity to provide useful information which helps another Grow, Recover, Improve, Prosper and Excel (G.R.I.P.E.). I highly recommend this book to anyone considering an anger management course.
What makes for Good Criticism?
As I discuss in my anger management course, Garner suggests that constructive feedback is offered with the goal of helping the recipient to G.R.I.P.E. The aim is neither to belittle the person you are criticizing nor to inflate your ego; instead it is offered in a spirit of assistance.
Constructive criticism is:
1) Problem-focused, not personal
2) Specific, not vague
3) Descriptive, rather than judgmental or blaming
What makes for bad criticism?
The goal of someone who uses destructive feedback is to make you look bad, influence you for their own benefit, or to make themselves appear better, smarter, or more powerful than you. In short, the goal is not improvement or helping, but to injure your self-esteem. Destructive criticism may be given to show “who’s the boss,” or belittle the other person.
Destructive criticism is:
1) Often personally focused
2) Overly general or vague
3) Focused on judgment and blame
4) Offered without the best interests of the recipient in mind
Criticism Techniques Taught in My Anger Management Course:
1) ”Explain as if the Other Person Doesn’t Know” Anger Management Technique
With this anger management technique feedback is intentionally worded to act as if the person does not know the right way to do something through no fault of their own. For example, you might start out by saying something like “You may not know this, however, we need to have … ” or “You may not be aware , of this, however all of these need to be approved before they are sent out.” This approach keeps the other person from feeling defensive which makes it much less likely they will become angry.
2) The “Demonstration” Anger Management Technique
One of the best ways to communicate how to accomplish a task is by showing them how you do it. Demonstrating the right approach can be very helpful in keeping someone from becoming angry. This not only communicates that you are willing to lend a hand; it allows you to offer criticism in a way that helps the other improve. Scientific research has shown that people learn fastest and show the most improvement through having someone model the proper way to do something for them. Athletes and executives both use coaches to teach them to be more effective.
3) ”Poop Sandwich” Anger Management Technique
You probably know this technique by another name. This involves starting out by saying something positive about the person. Even if they are totally screwing up you might be able to praise their effort and say something like “I totally see you out there working hard and trying your best”. Then in the middle you slip in what you are unhappy about or what the person is doing wrong. Then you top it off by telling them how to improve and either using the demonstration technique to make sure they have it down or by simply praising them and saying that you have faith that they can do this. You start and finish on high notes, which cushioning the criticism (aka “poop”) in the middle.
You can find other techniques for dealing with criticism by checking out your free anger management introductory course.