Every person has been at the receiving end of criticism.
We all know how it feels when someone states their disapproval of our opinions, ideologies, actions, or decisions.
And while we would want to avoid any criticism whatsoever, it’s also true that we need feedback to improve our work, way of thinking, and decision-making.
In a way, getting an outside perspective can actually make you a better person, even though it might sting in the short term.
But not all criticism is the same.
· Some are aimed at you just to bring you down.
· Some criticism emerges out of ignorance.
· Some are meant as a positive so that you can become better.
· And some are just meaningless.
But largely though, there are two types of criticism that we should all know.
They are constructive criticism and destructive criticism.
What is constructive and destructive feedback?
Most people think they are pretty good at giving feedback. After all, you just need to compare what someone did with what you think they should have done, and say so!
Feedback is critical for growth, learning, and improvement. There are two kinds of feedback: constructive feedback and destructive feedback, often used interchangeably but really quite different. The differences between constructive feedback and destructive feedback are both subtle yet powerful in their implications for everyday interactions with family, friends, and at work.
Constructive feedback is a method of giving your peers suggestions on how to boost their professional and personal skills. However, there’s a secret sauce to constructive feedback. Unlike criticism or negative feedback, constructive feedback is used to instil confidence in your team members while sharing actionable ways they can improve.
Constructive feedback is about what you’re doing right, not necessarily what you’re doing wrong. It focuses on building up rather than tearing down, and encouragement over discouragement. A constructive feedback example of this would be saying, “You did a great job on your presentation at work today! Can I share a few things I noticed?” The purpose of constructive feedback is to inspire change through acknowledgment and positive reinforcement rather than discouraging behaviour by pointing out errors or flaws.
Why is constructive feedback important?
To understand the difference between constructive vs. destructive feedback, it’s helpful to know why providing positive feedback is so important when trying to encourage another person. Constructive criticism focuses on the good aspects of what someone does rather than tearing down their efforts in an attempt to build them up. This can be done in formal or informal interactions with other people in our lives, and there are several benefits in sharing constructive feedback, both for the giver and receiver.
For example, telling someone that they did a great job on something they’ve worked hard on allows them to feel good about what they did, rather than feeling discouraged or frustrated when only being told their mistakes. This can help motivate people to continue striving for improvement as well as make them more likely to be open to receiving constructive criticism in the future. A Harvard Business Review article states that most people prefer constructive feedback over praise.
On the other hand, destructive feedback focuses on what you are doing wrong instead of what you are doing right. It tends toward tearing down rather than building up, discouragement over encouragement. An example of this would be saying: “Your presentation today was a total mess. Let me go over what you did wrong.”
The impact of being told that we are wrong or that we failed at something is much more powerful and discouraging than we like to realize, which emphasizes the importance of focusing on constructive criticism in our interactions with other people.