Delivering Criticism

How do you like being criticized? Does it make you feel like changing to accommodate your critic?

Negative criticism is almost always a mistake. Do you know anyone who likes it? It brings you down, makes you feel angry and resentful, and it hardly ever makes you want to change, does it?

Constructive feedback is a horse of a different color. There’s no sting in it, because it is not about your deficient character and it doesn’t come at you like an attack. It is designed to give you valuable information and it assumes you care about doing well.

So, what is the difference between constructive feedback and criticism? Well, it’s the difference between saying, “You never help around the house because you’re a slob and you just don’t care,” and saying, “When you neglect to do your part of the weekly clean-up around the house, I feel overworked and taken for granted.”

Can you see the difference? The first statement attacks character and sounds like it’s coming from a victim. The second states the facts and shares information about feelings without making the other person a villain. All that it takes to become an expert in constructive feedback is practice and a willingness to give up judgment and blame.

It also helps to remember what your goal is. If you want more conflict, go ahead and blame. It is a perfect way to sustain chaos. However, if you want positive action, learn to give constructive feedback instead.