Effective Communication

Not all critical feedback is constructive feedback

November 29, 2021
min read

Few of us enjoy being given critical feedback.

However research shows that despite the nice feeling of receiving praise, 75% of us believe that corrective feedback does more to improve our performance than positive one. In fact, at Netflix the recommended guideline is to provide a mix of 25% positive (continue doing) and 75% developmental (start doing and stop doing) feedback.

You may have noticed the use of words ‘corrective’ and ‘developmental’ rather than ‘critical’. That’s because, not all critical feedback is constructive feedback.

A quote to keep in mind

“Candour is like going to the dentist: a lot of people will avoid it if they can.”

– Reed Hastings, ‘No Rules Rules’

How to make sure your critical feedback is constructive

Here are at least a few guidelines:

💡Observations – start with concrete and specific observations, focusing on the person’s past behaviours and how they are not benefiting them;

💡 Actions – outline what the recipient might be able to do differently, including specific and clear examples;

💡 Benefits – highlight how your feedback would benefit them, the organisation and/or your relationship;

💡 Control – focus on the things that are within the person’s control;

💡 Emotional Energy – ensure that you and the other person have sufficient emotional energy to provide and receive feedback e.g. consider your emotional state, how jam-packed your day is and the physical space;

💡Don'ts try not to provide feedback to get a frustration off your chest, when it’s solely based on a personal preference, and without preparation.

Providing constructive feedback is invaluable, so don’t shy away from it!

Author Portrait
Written by
Mica Vaipan

Performance & wellbeing coach, entrepreneur. Formerly startup founder, tech startup COO and investment banker.

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