Feedback or Criticism

Do you give feedback or criticism?  When you see something that needs to be corrected in someone’s actions or performance how do you approach the topic?  The difference is in the intent of the information you share.  If focused on improving its feedback.  When focused on proving what was wrong its criticism.

Feedback is:

  1. Focused on improving performance or behavior
  2. Seeks to prevent repeat issues
  3. Based on actions observed
  4. Solution centered
  5. Supportive in delivery

Criticism is:

  1. Focused on highlighting errors
  2. Seeks to showcase mistakes
  3. Based on personal observations
  4. Cause centered
  5. Demeaning in delivery

There is a fine line at times between these two types of corrective conversations.  Bosses will say they are giving feedback but the message is about what you did wrong, that’s criticism.  Feedback will inspire people to find better ways to act in the future while criticism will cause people to act out of fear.   No one wants to be “yelled” at when they make a mistake and no matter how its delivered criticism feels like you are being reprimanded.  

Stay focused on how to do better next time and the conversation will feel more positive and have longer lasting results.

For effective feedback:

  1. Seek to understand why the specific action was taken
  2. Look for solutions
  3. Ask how it could be done differently
  4. Use the phrase “I observed…” to point out behavior
  5. Explain the impact of the actions

Providing true feedback instead of criticizing your team will help you build a group who strives to always do better and go beyond expectations.

What is your best tip for giving feedback when something has gone wrong?

photo from iStockphoto.com

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Filed under Change Management, Leadership, Team Building

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