Let’s face it, it can be hard to give or receive criticism no matter how it is delivered. But getting comfortable with offering and receiving practical, constructive criticism is fundamental to our professional development.
When presented correctly, it can be a helpful tool for leaders and peers to help each other deliver better results, find motivation, and strengthen relationships.
So how can you learn to take criticism well and get better at delivering it to others?
In this article, we’ll discuss the art of constructive criticism. We’ll break down what it is, how it compares to destructive criticism, practical strategies to give and receive it well, and what to avoid in both cases.
Define Constructive Criticism
Constructive criticism is a feedback method that offers specific, actionable recommendations. Good constructive feedback facilitates positive outcomes and creates a positive working environment. It also provides a safe space where a person feels secure enough to ask questions, seek help, and share ideas.
The Difference Between Constructive Criticism Vs. Destructive Criticism
The big difference between constructive and destructive criticism lies in how the comments are delivered.
While constructive criticism focuses on building up the other person, destructive criticism focuses on the negative. The feedback can be vague and often lacks guidance or support.
Constructive criticism is clear, direct, honest, and easy to implement. It provides specific examples and actionable suggestions for positive change. This type of feedback also highlights ways the recipient can make positive improvements in their behavior to minimize future problems.
Destructive criticism, on the other hand, focuses solely on the problem. This kind of feedback offers no encouragement, help, or support for improvement. Despite the deliverer’s intentions, it often lowers morale and reduces confidence.
Pros Of Constructive Criticism
Unlike deconstructive or negative criticism, constructive criticism builds trust and provides an opportunity for both parties to grow. Two key elements of constructive criticism’s success are context and actionable advice.
This kind of feedback gives the recipient context around their areas of improvement, which is crucial for understanding why the feedback is being offered.
Supporting the additional context with actionable steps and suggestions for how to improve build trust between both parties. This combination also opens the door to conversation, collaboration, and professional development.