Accepting Constructive Feedback

Feedback comes in all shapes and forms and can be the path to great growth. A key strategy can often be to take the best from it and toss the rest!

Constructive feedback is information-specific, issue-focused,

and based on observations.

Feedback comes in all shapes and forms and can be requested or just randomly given to us.  The idea of it is to help us grow and become better at whatever it is the feedback is about.  Given that, why is it so hard to accept it at times?

Positive Feedback

Praise is absolutely wonderful to receive.   It’s recognition for our hard work and success.   Whether it comes from a peer, colleague, professor or friend, it’s welcomed with open arms.

There’s often more to positive feedback than just the recognition of success though.  It can be an indication that you are on the right track and encouragement that things are falling into place and that you should keep going with what you started.  In other words, positive feedback isn’t an ending, but often a beginning, an impetus for growth.

Negative Feedback

Negative feedback can be hard to receive at times but also can be where our greatest growth moments are derived from.  It’s genuine, specific, focused feedback that is meant to get us back on the right track, take our performance to the next level, and help us succeed.  The key is to be open to receiving it and then also acting on it.

Negative feedback can be very hard to receive though when you don’t feel that it’s genuine but rather shared out of jealousy, to reduce our confidence, or simply to flatten our enthusiasm.  In such cases, while there still may be something to be gained from the feedback, it’s often harder to see and even harder to act on.  It often takes some analysis to see if the feedback, despite its intent, is valid or not.  But it’s usually well worth the evaluation time just in case a great nugget of feedback lies within the comment.

Criticism

Definitions may differ with me on this but to me criticism is the next level of negative feedback. It’s comments that are not derived from a good place and is not meant to help you progress, but rather has the goal to deflate your motivation. This type of feedback can be hard to shake off and move on, but move on we must.  We must not let it knock us down, but rather motivate us to push forward with even greater energy.

The best you can often take away from criticism is that it’s often mostly about the person giving it. It’s often a sign that that person is hurting in some way and needs to find a way to boost themselves up by knocking someone else down.  In these cases, it’s helpful to remember this and rather than go on the defensive, show compassion.  While you may not know the source of their motives, showing them compassion and perhaps even asking them where the comments are coming from may go a long way to turning a hurtful situation into a positive situation.  Perhaps allowing the giving of feedback to go the other way and wind up with you helping that person.

How do you accept feedback?

Is it easy for you? How has it helped you?  Have you been in the position of receiving criticism?  If so, how did it go?

28 thoughts on “Accepting Constructive Feedback

  1. I definitely agree with this! Although positive feedback is always nice to hear, it’s the negative that really helps us grow and improve, as long as it’s delivered in a constructive way where we can actually take something from it. And I 100% agree that pure criticism that isn’t at all constructive often says more about the person delivering it x

    Sophie

  2. I think this information on feedback and the different types should be a course for anyone who wants to pursue leadership roles. Thank you for distinguishing between negative constructive feedback and criticism. There are so many who don’t recognize or don’t want to realize the difference in the two.

  3. This is a great article! It is very insightful and I feel it can be helpful to many people. I always try to take any feedback and even criticism in a positive way and act on it to help myself to improve. But I am human and it is sometimes difficult.

  4. I think feedback around a job or task from a boss or higher up is easier for me to take than say, conversational or personal feedback! Mostly because I instantly feel bad about myself or like I’ve done something wrong. I’ve been trying to give feedback in a way that I would also want to receive it, and that’s made me feel better in receiving also. A work in progress.

  5. You’re right, sometimes it’s hard to accept criticism, but I feel like all-good feedback doesn’t lead you anywhere! At the end of the day critics help us grow, so even if they can be hard to deal with at first, we should all try our best to process them and make the most out of every type of feedback we get

    1. I agree – sometimes it takes some time to digest but in the end usually there’s something you can take from most everything that truly is about you.

  6. Great post! Yes, negative feedback and criticism can be hard to take, but it can also motivate you to go in a more positive direction and have a better outcome. It can be a learning process in life!

  7. Great post! I appreciate constructive feedback when it’s presented with good intentions and offers valuable perspective. It can be so helpful to have someone point out something that I might not be seeing, for whatever reason. There’s a skillful way to offer it, though. When it’s not done skillfully, it can feel like it’s coming from a place of judgment rather than caring.

  8. Though the truth sometimes hurt, I can definitetly take feedback from my peers and superiors. I actually enjoy getting feedback because it helps me improve and be the best that I cam be.

  9. I’m pretty good about receiving constructive feedback but sometimes I know I get defensive. It’s more that I’m too hard on myself but I love people giving me honest feedback so I can correct things. I love that you wrote about this because it is something many people struggle with!

  10. I’m good at taking feedback, both negative and positive. Criticism on the other hand, I’m not sure I could handle it. I can’t think of a situation where I received it which is good, but I guess my reaction would also depend on who it comes from. Great post!

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