Monday, September 7, 2015

Negative Feedback: Is it Constructive or Destructive

The quality of feedback is dependent on the QUALITY of feedback giver.

Nobody is perfect, we should always self-aware, including our flaws and shortcomings. We need always to welcome the constructive feedback which helps improve our professional growth and personal maturity. However, how can you discern which feedback is constructive, and which one is destructive? And what can you learn from it?

Accept feedback that is truthful and accurate, constructive with good intention. Those who give negative feedback on correctly assessing your flaws, should receive your gratitude and respect. However, those who give negative feedback based on ignorance, misinformation, misjudgment, or even rumors, envy or revenge, earn the scorn and contempt. As a feedback giver, you should take the responsibility of the words you say, and at the positive business atmosphere, those negative intentions or misjudgment needs to be discouraged or even penalized in order to build a healthy working environment and create a culture of learning and innovation.  

It depends on how sensitively the negative feedback is delivered and the mindset of the person receiving the negative feedback. Sometimes it works and has a good outcome, however, in other cases, the outcome is not positive and sometimes can even do irreparable damage to relationships. Negative feedback for its own sake can be utterly destructive, particularly to the bright, ambitious but not so political-savvy recipient. It all depends on how the feedback is given and what the intention of the feedback is. If the intent is to help the person grow, and information is given with empathy and as a conversation, it can be helpful. When it is given in a critical tone and with no opportunity for real communication, then it is only destructive or distracting. In a coaching and supportive atmosphere, the person has the opportunity to grow in a positive way and to be grateful.

It also depends upon who the person is giving the feedback. If the person is someone you trust and is a person who you know has only the best for you in their heart, you will accept it, and really try to ascertain the truth in what the person is saying - and use it to improve yourself. If the person is not well known to you - often you will not appreciate the negative feedback. That being said, the QUALITY of feedback giver is crucial to the quality of feedback being given, the QUALITY is about the person’s reputation, cognition, character, integrity, insight, and intention., etc. The quality of feedback also depends on which emotional status both sender and receiver have at the moment. So, there is a responsibility for both parties to consider the intention and attitude for sending and receiving. You do not have to say everything you feel, as a potential sender, as old saying goes: It’s not just about what you say, but how you say it matters. As a receiver, the responsibility is to try to understand the sender’s intention. So, if everyone tries with good intention, it is good, always, with input. There is a cultural element to consider as well, not only about corporate culture, but also about the metropolitan culture, national culture as well. Different cultures have different approaches to feedbacks, always understand the context besides content, and always capture the insight and wisdom from the knowledge.

The best thing about negative feedback with positive intention is that it calls to make a person much more self-aware and can fuel professional progress and personal growth. This is why mentors are so important at work. But the feedback must come from a trustworthy and valued source and high-quality givers. So treat feedback as information and their perception, but you have the choice what story you put to it. The excellent feedback gives you accurate information to improve; great questions to self-aware; positive intention to care with empathy and keen insight to help you grow and mature.


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