In management circle there is a commonly used term “constructive criticism”. Well every time I hear that, I cringe. How can “criticism” be constructive?
Here’s my take. The receptiveness and success of any feedback is completely dependent on “the quality of relationship” between the giver and receiver. If you have a solid trusting and mutually appreciative relationship feedback will be received well regardless of how it is crafted. If you don’t have a quality relationship or culture, feedback will be taken negatively, regardless of how careful you are in crafting it. It boils down to the “perceived intent” by the recipient and not what the intent of the giver is.
Does the individual feel “you are trying to help them” or do they feel (deep down) that you are “trying to judge them, assess them or put them down”. If the person feels you care, not only will they receive the feedback well but actually make proactive action to act on it.
Often the person giving feedback focuses on the rationality of the feedback in the context of the situation at hand but doesn’t understand the importance of quality of relationship that needs to exist before feedback can be given and accepted effectively. In this scenario there is an endless invisible tussle between the two.
This tussle can only end if they each drop the situation and build the trust in the relationship. To create this trusting relationship we need to “interact and know each other” as individuals first. We need to find things to “appreciate” in each other. We need to “understand” where each is coming from “in life”. What is important to each and why.
Once we connect with each others humanness, everything else simply flows effortlessly.