Criticism or Feedback are powerful. We all know the term constructive criticism, the problem is we rarely practice it. Its unfortunate, as criticism is necessary to grow in any endeavor.
Breakfast of Champions or Food Poisoning?
Proper feedback from a coach, teacher, friend, co-worker, client etc is an invaluable tool to improvement. If the feedback is given constructively and and delivered in a caring manner, the recipient will incorporate it, using the suggestion to achieve their goals. This type of criticism is what has been called the Breakfast of Champions. Those open to constructive criticism ‘eat’ the feedback and improve! Those that shut it out, struggle or fail, its that essential!
On the other hand, criticism can be poisonous. Belittling, negative feedback is unquestionably destructive! Sorry, but even if it is well intended and meant to help, it hurts! Very few people are truly motivated by being humiliated. We must ‘restrain’ our judgmental tendencies and craft our interaction in a way that is helpful. Just think how nice a world this would be if we can give and receive this type of support.
Why good teachers/rare impact
Invariably, anyone who achieves a level of accomplishment in anything, 9sports, arts, business, etc.0 has had a memorable teacher, coach, mentor or guide.
The impact they have in nurturing a pursuit cannot be overstated. The feedback they dispense is always framed positively, meant to support the individual on their journey. Good deliverers balance the criticism, offering praise for any progress, no matter how small, while pointing to an area for improvement they know is within reach.
This is not to suggest that it is ok to mislead and be dishonest, but to recognize that people have different skill sets and learn at different paces. The key here is for the coach/teacher to determine that the person has the drive and will to do what is needed to achieve reasonable goals and working alongside, support their pursuit.
Do we enjoy judging?
The flip side is judgmental dismissal! It seems many people relish in the harsh put down of others, cloaking it as criticism or being ‘real’
Pure nonsense, that type of poisonous feedback not only disheartens but also erodes a person’s self esteem and confidence.
In some cases it causes a backlash, where a receiver shuts out the feedback and gives rise to animosity towards the person giving it.
Look for the positive
No one is an expert out of the box. We need to look for the positive aspects of a person’s endeavor, even if its just their effort or interest, and praise that. Then we can craft ‘suggestions’ about how to improve, mindful of the damage or help it can render.
Try thinking of parenting as the ultimate feedback machine, it may help to soften the criticism we render.