Constructive Criticism... Isn't!!
How to avoid pretending
you are trying to be helpful

by Rachelle Disbennet-Lee, PhD.

I simply don't believe in constructive criticism. You can't build someone up and then tear that person down. The two words simply don't go together. My experience is that most people use the concept of "Constructive Criticism" to criticize. They just want to put the other person down, and they disguise it behind what sounds like a supportive action. I think if someone is going to criticize another it would be more honest to say, "I have something to tell you that is really going to hurt you and make you feel really bad. Ready?"

Although I don't believe in criticism, I do believe in feedback. If someone has bad breath, body order or is consistently late for work, providing feedback would be helpful to that person. That feedback should come in a non-judgmental neutral tone with the intention of helping the other person. Before any feedback is ever given you should ask yourself, "How will this help?" If your honest answer is that it won't help, don't give the feedback.

The second most important thing to do before you provide feedback is to make sure your intentions are to be supportive. Let's face it, criticism isn't about being supportive; instead, criticism is about judgment and ego. If you have to start your feedback with, "I hope you don't take this the wrong way..." or "I don't want to hurt your feelings but..." you're on the wrong track. Feedback might not be easy to give, but you should never feel the need to apologize for it. If you always come from a place of love and compassion when providing feedback, you will never feel the need to apologize for your comments. That doesn't mean it will be easy to give or that the other person will appreciate it; it just means you are doing it for the right reasons.

When providing feedback, ask the other person if he or she is open to hearing it. If the answer is no, honor that and shut up. If the response is yes, share the feedback with them, saying something like, "I have observed..." or "My experience of you when you do this is..." Coming from a neutral position and sharing just the facts as you see them won't put the other person on the defensive and that person will be able to hear what you have to say. Also know that, although your feedback is meant to help, the other person doesn't have to accept it. That's fine. Let it go and move on.

Feedback is a gift you give another person. It is meant to help that person to be the best she or he can be. Anything less loving is not feedback and should not be shared.


Rachelle Disbennett-Lee, PhD provides daily motivation, information and inspiration to thousands of people through her award winning e-zine 365 Days of Coaching.  For a free report, "The Power of Daily Action - How to create more Wealth, Health and Happiness by Tapping Into the Power of Daily Action" go to http://www.365daysofcoaching.com/daily_action.htm 
Coach Rachelle Disbennett Lee, PhD, 2007


 

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