Is It Feedback or Criticism?

Feedback isn’t Criticism and Criticism isn’t Feedback. I don’t know about you but I’ve seen many people misinterpret the feedback from a person as criticism. And I also have seen people criticizing a person believing that they are giving the individual constructive feedback. The method, approach, and voice tone of the person providing the information can definitely attribute to this misinterpretation by the recipient.  However, I can’t find a valid reason for the provider of the information to confuse criticism with feedback. The only commonality between criticism and feedback is that they both require evaluation.


Associated with Criticism
Effects of Criticism

Criticism is very subjective. It normally involves making negative assumptions about a person’s motive. Basically, it is judgemental and faultfinding. The person providing the criticism is giving their disapproval of someone or something based on perceived mistakes and faults. For example, let’s take a person with a learning disability. They have trouble with math and struggle. So, many times to avoid frustration, that person will avoid doing their math. Now if you tell that person they are lazy then you are criticizing them. You are making a negative assumption. Basically, you are attacking their motive. In reality, criticizing a person doesn’t help them at all.



Attributes of Feedback
Effects of Feedback

Feedback on the other hand is more objective. It normally avoids focusing on the person’s intent. It focuses more on the actual results of what they did. Basically, feedback judges the results and provides information to make the situation better. It comprises of both positive and negative with the intent on improvement. An example of feedback would be making people better at what they are doing. Let’s take a person that is in karate classes. In order to graduate to the next belt level, the student has to be proficient with certain techniques at their current level. It is the instructor’s responsibility to evaluate their moves and provide positive information to correct any errors.

Final Takeaway

Regardless of the situation, whether it be sports, work, or family; feedback is the best avenue to help others improve. Make sure it is constructive feedback. It’s okay to say criticism in place of feedback as long as you know it truly is feedback. Ensure the recipient knows it is feedback and if they believe you are criticizing them, have the ability to explain the difference. Explain to them you are helping them to be better at what they are doing.

Criticism doesn’t really help anyone because, in essence, it attacks intent and/or motive. The motive is a reason for doing something.  It’s intrinsic to the person. As for the person with the learning disability example, the person didn’t have a good reason to do the math. Read the “Do What you Love” blog to get a better understanding of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Remember Feedback isn’t Criticism and Criticism isn’t Feedback”.

Feedback trumps criticism.

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