Feedback – criticism or a gift?

Are you one of those people who thirst for feedback on their work and actions? If so, you probably feel you aren’t getting enough of it. You should know a bit more about giving and receiving feedback, as this thirst cannot be quenched easily.

One of my life’s biggest insights (among my very few ones 😊) is the fact that the way for me to grow as a person and in my work is to get feedback from other people. Sometimes a glance, smile, moment of hesitation, or encouraging nod is enough. Sometimes more is required. Tell me what works, what doesn’t, and why. Was I at fault, or was the reason somewhere else?

I have a tendency to read too much into things. I easily think that everything starts and ends with me. If a client doesn’t like our proposal, it must be my fault. When the other person changes the subject in a discussion, I was too boring. If I don’t get full marks in an exam, I failed. If I was chosen, it’s just because there was no one better available.

Another insight has been that we all have our own reasons for thinking, perceiving, acting, and reacting in our own ways. The reality is different for each one of us, so we react to stimuli differently. Everything does not start and end with me.

So, it is interesting to observe, interpret, and discuss how we think. We all have an illusion of likeness, but in reality, we sense and interpret our worlds in very different ways.

When I give feedback to others, it is good to be aware of my own intentions: what am I trying to do with the feedback. As a leader and parent, I am expected to give feedback and bear in mind that I can give it constructively or destructively. Can I help other people to realize things they have possibly been blind to, or do I just unload my own pain on others in a rush and with ill grace?
Do I give my feedback at the right moment? Does the other person want to hear it right now, or should I wait for a more appropriate moment? Do I build the discussion slowly and gradually, or do I just say it all at once, without any warm-up? Often a calm and constructive discussion gives both parties new energy and insights.

In my opinion, the deciding factor is the attitude of the person receiving the feedback. Whether you consider the feedback as criticism, encouraging guidance, or even a gift can define the course of your life.

I have decided I like feedback best as gifts.

Kaija Pohjala

Posted By

Rosanna Lyytinen

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