Another one from The Winners Circle. This arrived last week; and, again, got my brain working overtime.
So often, in our society, we see people criticising others in incredibly negative ways. And then, sadly, expecting it to make a difference and bring about the change they want, and expect the other person to make. In this piece, Lou Tice makes a good case for ensuring criticism is always given in a constructive manner.
Types of 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. I don’t know anyone who likes it, do you? 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 colour. 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 forget to help with the housework, 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 judgement and blame.
It also helps to remember what your goal is. If you want more conflict, go ahead and blame. But if you want positive action, learn to give constructive feedback instead.
The Pacific Institute
One of the things I learned when I was writing occasional short stories as part of a group, is that even negative things can be said in a constructive manner. It doesn’t have to attack the person. And it becomes much easier to swallow if there is something positive alongside it.
I’m not perfect, not by a long way, but I do try to remember to find something positive to say alongside the less positive. And would rather keep quiet than attack someone on a personal level.
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