Can I give you a little constructive criticism?
Ok, rest easy. I’m not actually going to give you constructive criticism.
I know. It was a mean trick, but I really wanted to prove a point about how your brain goes into overdrive when you hear those two words. It’s the first myth that I’m busting in my three part series “Feedback Myths: What we think is helpful, but isn’t really helping.”
Constructive criticism doesn’t feel good. It gives us nervous sweats and feeds the little monster inside of us that tells us we were never good enough anyways. Even if someone ASKS us if it’s ok to lay it on… it doesn’t make it feel any better.
Why? Because it’s still criticism.
But. But… It’s constructive! It’s meant to make you a better person and it helps you to improve.
Still criticism, even if you nod kindly while you’re giving it out. It feels hard to handle because the part of your brain that yelps during the scary part of a movie is the same part that reacts when you’re hearing something not-so-awesome about yourself. We don’t think. We just react.
Criticism, in all its forms, is personal and that’s why it’s the perfect way to turn a person off.
The best way to communicate areas of opportunity (or what’s going great…but that’s a subject for Myth #2) is through feedback.
Feedback is information about the past or present that influences change in the present or future.
The reason it’s so important to understand the difference between constructive criticism and feedback is because as a leader, manager or employee (or a mom, dad, brother, sister, kid soccer coach or second cousin) you’re being put in these tough positions daily:
…and so much more. And to understand how constructive criticism hits a person’s psyche as opposed to how feedback works in our brains can be the difference between a fight and conversation… resentment or appreciation.
So, what’s the difference? I laid it out for you below. Here are four ways to know you’re giving constructive criticism instead of feedback:
I’ve got more where that came from. Join me at my Get Real™ workshop on February 24 to bring your feedback skills to a new level. Click here for more information and sign up today.