The ability to give and receive feedback effectively may be one of the most important skills for everyone to learn. The legendary renaissance man Elon Musk once said, “I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” In this article, you will learn how to give and receive negative feedback and how to make it more constructive.
Receiving and Giving Constructive Criticism
If you want to progress in your career and ascend the hypothetical corporate ladder, you must take in all criticisms and ensure they resonate with you or at least try to understand where the person is coming from. Taken from another perspective, you should know what motivates you to give someone negative feedback. Before you start criticizing someone for their work or job performance, it’s important you consider how cognitive biases might be influencing your conclusions.
One important step in building a feedback loop with your team is to have a conversation about why it is important to openly discuss performance and potential areas for improvement. In his book Principles: Life and Work, Ray Dalio discusses his theory of a “radically transparent” workplace where everyone has access to transcripts from every meeting and performance feedback is made public for everyone on the team.
Goals, Feedback, and Criticism
If you are encouraging your team to plan and set goals you should be ensuring these are attainable, measurable and time-sensitive. It can be great to shoot for the stars and set out to achieve audacious goals but keep in mind the common cognitive bias is the Overconfidence Effect. The Overconfidence Effect is when a person’s subjective confidence in their judgments is reliably greater than the objective accuracy of those judgments. This is why your goals need to be tracked and calibrated for accurate, objective future achievement.
Criticism: It’s For Everyone
Everyone can benefit from a healthy dose of constructive criticism. Steve Jobs famously analogized debate to a rock tumbler, although there is friction and heated discussion, ideas and people come out better off (like the polished rocks from a rock tumbler). Although it can be difficult to hear at times, everyone should actively seek honest feedback, because it’s much more difficult for everyone to work cohesively if the suggestions are kept bottled up.
Outlined in this visual from GetVoIP are the do’s and don’ts of giving and receiving constructive criticism. Next time you have to give downward, lateral or upward feedback you should consult these tips and put them into practice.