Constructive Criticism: How To Give & Get It

Constructive_Criticism_How_To_Give_Get_It_1.jpgWe all know that constructive criticism is almost always delivered without a nice layer of sugar coating, despite the criticizer's best efforts. How can we work on this to give and receive these suggestions in a clearer and calmer manner? There must be a way! 

We’ve previously touched on this topic of criticism before, but this time we’ll dig a little deeper. Criticism comes in so many forms in so many varying aspects of our lives. Is this little gem popping up in your workplace, your relationship, your friendships? 

“Constructive criticism is a helpful way of giving feedback that provides specific, actionable suggestions. Rather than providing general advice, constructive criticism gives specific recommendations on how to make positive improvements. Constructive criticism is clear, to the point and easy to put into action” says Indeed. 

So, let us first dive into the easier aspect of this - giving constructive criticism. When you’re giving information that could be thought of less-than-ideal and  maybe even a little harsh- it’s a lot easier than receiving it because it doesn’t hit so close to your heart. Think about it this way - if you spent years working on an album, pouring your entire heart and soul into it - just imagine how it could feel to find out that all of your hard work speaks absolutely nothing to the listener? This is why it’s important to know what you want to say before you say it. Be clear and specific to the person you are providing the feedback for. Do not use terms such as “i” and provide ways that they can make it better immediately. If you don’t know how something can be made better, then commit to researching it with them. Have you ever heard the quote about “With great power comes great responsibility”? - This is especially true when delivering criticism. You must handle it with a little bit of kid gloves, if you’d like for it to be as painless as possible, which we advise of!

It is never fun to receive criticism. We’d all love to be loved wholeheartedly by the world around us, yet the reality is that we all come from different trials and tribulations, in which we have accumulated varying preferences, likes and dislikes. This will all come into play when receiving criticism. In this train of thought, it’s important to take it with a grain of salt. 

Cleverism states “A strong mind that can deflect the negativity of criticism while appreciating the positivity it brings showcases prowess and the ability to accomplish even the most difficult of tasks. Co-workers and office acquaintances will appreciate the manner in which you are able to accept your flaws and work on them without any complaints.Constructive criticism offers you an opportunity to demonstrate to your peers that you are willing to handle difficult situations with a smile on your face.”  

In this manner, it’s important to remember that none of us are perfect and we are all riddled with flaws. Change your attitude about how you feel about being imperfect. It’s a reality that needs accepting in order to make your life happier, healthier and more successful in the long run. 

Remember the purpose of your criticism. It is to make others and yourself better, whether it’s a behavior, a habit or a way of accomplishing something. Ultimately, criticism should have a pure intention of teaching and leading to a better way of doing things. Be prepared to expect that it won’t always be received or given graciously, but by doing your best to incorporate it into your wide-variety of relationships, over time you will help yourself and others on their communication skills. Once this is mastered, soon enough, you’ll find that you’re turning a whole lot less molehills into mountains - and you might just have that light bulb moment where the criticism makes sense and makes your art even better in the long run.