Constructive criticism is a building block to growth and self-awareness. This week we look at how to best receive constructive criticism, and how to dish it out, too.
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Issue #22

Constructive Compliments (...OK, OK, We Mean Criticism) 

(enable images to see ^ this gif!)

Happy Friday, everyone! What's a Friday without a good gif from The Office? I've been rewatching the whole series and came across this scene recently. I wrote about the power of team retrospectives awhile back—the ability to be transparent and honest about our successes AND failures while working on projects can be so important for a team. But I haven't yet talked about one-on-one feedback yet.

We've all experienced moments on our projects where a teammate's communications, work process, or deliverables needed a bit of change. Whether the feedback and actions needed were minor or drastic, handling any sort of criticism can be delicate and difficult to properly address to get the preferred response.

Receiving Constructive Criticism

I know I've personally had moments where I've been given feedback about my own work or performance on a project. Sometimes that feedback can be blunt, sometimes it's subtle, and other times it's part of a natural conversation or realization with a teammate or employer. Regardless, I definitely have learned to appreciate a well-shaped, constructive criticism—although it took me awhile.

Great read: How to take constructive criticism like a champ. The tip about asking questions is excellent—it's a great way to actively listen to criticism and learn more about the reasoning behind that particular feedback.

Great laugh: 8 ways to very maturely deal with harsh criticism. A good pick-me-up after tough feedback ;). 

Giving Constructive Criticism

Communicating feedback to a team member can be awkward or tough at times. I kind of love the challenge involved in condensing down a piece of information to a useful, digestible suggestion—but it's not an easy task. Feedback is crucial in building our skills and self-awareness, so it makes sense that we should be as effective as possible when delivering it.

It's helped me to remember to contextualize the process when giving feedback—I try not to sugar-coat things, but instead identify the specific process that didn't work as expected and why that was. Being specific about those actions and identifying the reasons surrounding them gives context to the overall feedback I'm giving. It helps leave space for a teammate to apply the information to their experience, and strips out emotion or superficiality from the criticism I might be communicating.

Great Read: 9 Ways To Give Constructive Criticism That Are Actually Helpful. The title might be click-bait, but this article rounds up the best of the best tips to deliver helpful, clear, and meaningful feedback—I'm a fan.

Great Laugh: Client feedback on the creation of the earth. I cry-laughed. And then cringed when I realized how much truth there was in this.

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