Constructive criticism can improve performance and enhance trust with your employees, but only if they perceive it as helpful and relevant. All too often, managers either offer feedback in general terms, leaving the receiver to guess what remedy is expected, or try to prescribe a solution that doesn’t feel right to the employee. To build your employees’ confidence and communicate respect for their opinions, ask them to come up with their own solutions, and link the criticism to something that is important to them. For example, consider someone who cares about being respected by peers but is habitually 10 minutes late to weekly staff meetings, blaming their tardiness on their busy schedule. You could simply reprimand them, either nicely (“Please make more of an effort to be on time”) or sharply (“Do we need to get you a new watch?”). But it would be much more effective to link the problem to what they care about (“How do you think coming in late affects your reputation with your colleagues?”) and ask them for a solution (“What could you do to help yourself be on time?”).