Feedback plays a critical role in personal and professional development. Getting feedback can help us learn our strengths and weaknesses and make improvements where required. However, not all feedback is constructive. Negative feedback delivered poorly can feel like a personal attack. It can be demotivating, and ultimately hinder rather than help progress.
In this post, we will delve into the concept of “deconstructive feedback” and explore how to recognize it, its impacts, and what we can do about it. We’ll differentiate between non-constructive and destructive types of feedback and illustrate examples of destructive criticism in the workplace. Let’s get started!
Deconstructive Feedback: How to Give it Without Ruining Friendships
Do you ever find yourself biting your tongue when you hear someone giving a flawed argument or idea? It can be tough to stay quiet, especially when you know you have something valuable to contribute. Well, fear not! In this section, we’ll teach you how to give feedback without coming off as a know-it-all or a jerk.
Start with Praise
Before diving into criticism, always start with something positive. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top or fake, but highlighting what’s good about someone’s idea or argument can make all the difference. It shows that you’re not just looking to tear them down, but that you are genuinely interested in improving the conversation.
Follow Up with a Question
People respond better to questions than statements. Asking a question gives you the opportunity to guide the conversation towards the direction you want it to go in, without seeming like you’re lecturing. Plus, it shows that you’re genuinely interested in hearing their answer, rather than just pushing your own agenda.
Be Specific, Not General
When giving feedback, always be specific. General statements like “Your argument doesn’t make sense” are unhelpful and can come across as rude. Instead, point out exactly what the issue is, and offer possible solutions or alternatives.
Remember that no one likes hearing that their idea or argument has flaws. Try to put yourself in their shoes and empathize with how they might be feeling. Softening your language and acknowledging their perspective can help make your feedback more palatable.
End on a Positive Note
Always end with something positive. Again, it doesn’t have to be over-the-top, but ending with praise or encouragement can help frame your feedback as constructive rather than just critical.
Giving feedback can be tough, but with a little finesse, it doesn’t have to ruin relationships. So next time you hear an argument or idea that needs some deconstructive feedback, give it a go!
Types of Feedback
Feedback can come in many forms, and not all of it is created equal. Here are some of the most common types of feedback you might encounter:
This is the type of feedback we all hope to receive. It’s clear, specific, and focused on improving our work. And, most importantly, it’s delivered in a way that’s both supportive and actionable. Basically, it’s the unicorn of feedback.
This is the type of feedback we’re focusing on today. It’s the opposite of constructive feedback: vague, negative, and unhelpful. It’s the kind of feedback that leaves you feeling like you’ve just been punched in the gut. And worst of all, it often comes with no suggestions on how to actually improve your work.
This type of feedback is more about the person delivering it than the work itself. It might sound like they’re being helpful, but really they’re just trying to make themselves look good or push their own agenda. Bonus points if they throw in a little snark or sarcasm.
This type of feedback is the double-edged sword of the feedback world. On the one hand, it feels great to hear that you’re doing a good job. On the other hand, if the feedback is too vague or general, it doesn’t really help you improve in any meaningful way. It’s like getting a participation trophy – nice, but ultimately meaningless.
This is the feedback we all dread. It’s the kind that focuses on everything you’re doing wrong and nothing you’re doing right. And, like deconstructive feedback, it often doesn’t offer any solutions or suggestions for improvement. The silver lining? At least it’s not passive-aggressive.
This type of feedback is like getting hit with a brick. It’s direct, to the point, and often delivered without any sugarcoating. Some people appreciate this approach, but others find it more hurtful than helpful. Proceed with caution.
This type of feedback is like a sandwich: compliments on the top and bottom, with the criticism in the middle. The idea is that the person receiving the feedback will be more receptive if it’s “sandwiched” between positive comments. It can be effective, but it’s also sometimes seen as disingenuous.
As you can see, there are many different types of feedback out there. Some are helpful, some are hurtful, and some are just plain weird. The key is to learn how to identify each type of feedback and figure out what to do with it. So, the next time someone gives you feedback, ask yourself: is this constructive or deconstructive? Passive-aggressive or blunt? Positive or negative? And then, take it from there.
Judgemental Feedback: No One Wins
Deconstructive feedback is all about being honest and open with your colleagues or employees, but it’s equally essential to keep in mind that nobody wants to receive judgemental feedback. Judgement, criticism, or negativity have no place in any feedback conversation. Here’s why.
Judging Others Never Pays Off
When we judge others, we usually do it based on our perceptions and biases. We assume we know the context, the struggles, and the limitations that the person faced while performing the task. But in reality, we seldom have the full picture. So our judgemental feedback is rooted in flawed information and false conclusions.
Moreover, when we judge, we automatically create a defensive reaction in the other person. They will feel criticized, attacked, or undervalued. And when that happens, they’ll be less likely to take in the feedback, let alone act on it.
When we use judgemental language, we convey more than just our opinion. We communicate our attitude, intentions, and feelings. We show that we are not on the same team and that we don’t have each other’s best interest in mind.
Here are some examples of judgemental feedback that you should avoid:
- “This is terrible work.”
- “You’re not good enough for this job.”
- “I expected better from you.”
None of these statements give any useful information. They only cause harm and erode the trust and respect between the two parties.
Empathy and Care Are Key
The alternative to judgemental feedback is empathy and care. When you approach someone with genuine concern and interest in their growth, they’ll be more willing to listen and learn.
Here are some examples of how you can turn judgemental feedback into constructive feedback:
- “I noticed some areas where we can improve. Can we discuss them together?”
- “I see you’re struggling with this. How can I assist you to overcome it?”
- “It seems like you’re not fully comfortable with this. Is there anything I can do to support you?”
By choosing words and tone that communicate empathy, you set the foundation for a healthy and productive feedback conversation. Your goal is to help the person improve, not to judge or criticize them.
In short, judgemental feedback never pays off. It damages relationships, diminishes trust, and creates a defensive atmosphere. When you give feedback, choose language that empathizes and cares for the person’s growth and development. Together, you can achieve better outcomes and strengthen your collaboration.
What is Deconstructive Feedback
Let’s face it; feedback can be uncomfortable, especially when it’s critical. But, if you’re going to receive feedback, why not make it a downright weird experience? That’s where deconstructive feedback comes into play.
Deconstructive feedback is a technique used to provide constructive criticism by breaking down a given process and identifying specific areas for improvement. It’s not about tearing someone down; it’s about helping them grow. Think of it as a twisted version of a compliment sandwich.
How Does it Work
First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – deconstructive feedback is weird. But, if you’re like me, that’s okay because weird is good. The process involves breaking down the feedback into small parts, analyzing each part for areas of improvement, and then putting all the parts back together.
Why is it Important
Deconstructive feedback is essential for growth and development. When receiving feedback, you want to know what you’re doing well and where you need to improve. Traditional feedback tends to focus on the weaknesses, which can be demotivating and counterproductive. Deconstructive feedback is different because it analyzes the entire process and provides feedback on each step, allowing you to understand what you’re doing correctly and where you can improve.
Deconstructive feedback is a creative approach to criticism that can be bizarre and entertaining. But, when done correctly, it can be an effective way to provide constructive criticism, which is essential for personal and professional growth. So, if you’re ready to receive feedback that is different, give deconstructive feedback a try.
Non-Constructive Feedback Examples
Feedback is crucial in personal and professional development, but not all feedback is helpful. Non-constructive feedback can come in many forms, and some of them are hilarious. Here are a few examples of non-constructive feedback that will make you laugh:
The Vague Feedback
“Your work just isn’t good enough.” – No specific details, no constructive criticism, just a blunt statement that leaves you confused and frustrated. How are you supposed to improve when you don’t know what you’re doing wrong?
The Insulting Feedback
“Your work is trash.” – There’s nothing constructive about this feedback. It’s just plain insulting. It doesn’t offer a way to improve, only to feel bad about yourself.
The Passive-Aggressive Feedback
“I’m sure you tried your best.” – This is a classic passive-aggressive feedback. It makes it sound like they’re being supportive, but really, they’re just being condescending.
The Critic-Without-Context Feedback
“That’s not how I would have done it.” – This type of feedback doesn’t take into account that everyone has their own style of doing things. It doesn’t offer any real constructive criticism, only an unnecessary comparison.
The Non-Specific Feedback
“I don’t like it.” – This gives you zero insight into what specifically needs improvement. You’ll be left floundering and unsure of what to change, which hampers your growth.
The Feedback Sandwich, but with Rocks
“You did a fantastic job with the presentation, but you really suck at public speaking. Also, your outfit was terrible.” – The feedback sandwich is meant to provide constructive feedback while also starting and ending with a positive. But in this case, the compliments are hollow and the criticism is harsh.
Despite the humor of these non-constructive feedback types, it’s important to remember that they don’t help you grow. They don’t provide any actionable feedback or advice for improvement. That’s why it’s essential to recognize when feedback falls short and to ask for more clarity when necessary.
Destructive vs Constructive Criticism
Have you ever received feedback that left you feeling completely demotivated and demoralized? Of course, you have, we all have! That’s the magic of destructive criticism. While constructive criticism can help us grow and improve, its evil twin can leave us feeling like a failure.
What is Destructive Criticism
Destructive criticism is like a hurricane, it comes with a lot of force and can leave behind a lot of devastation. It’s like a poison that seeps into your confidence and self-esteem. Destructive criticism is usually vague, unhelpful, and offers no actionable steps for improvement. It can be downright personal, attacking your character rather than your actions.
How to Spot Destructive Criticism
Destructive criticism comes in many forms. It can be disguised as a compliment, sound sarcastic or rude or may even be silent. Yes, silence can be a form of destructive criticism. When someone refuses to give any feedback or acknowledgement, it gives off an air of disinterest and neglect.
What is Constructive Criticism
Constructive criticism, on the other hand, is like a mirror. It reflects your strengths and weaknesses, and helps you improve yourself. It’s specific, actionable, and focused on your work, not you as a person. Constructive criticism targets your behavior and actions, not your character. It’s designed to help you grow, develop, and become better at what you do.
How to Give Constructive Criticism
Giving constructive criticism requires some skill and tact. You need to focus on the situation, not the person. Start by identifying the specific behavior or action that needs improvement, and offer specific suggestions for change. Always be respectful and give feedback in a private setting, never in front of others. And most importantly, always end on a positive note, reminding them of their strengths and what they’re doing well.
In conclusion, it’s important to understand the difference between destructive and constructive criticism. We all need feedback to grow and improve, but it’s the type of feedback we receive that makes all the difference. So, the next time you give or receive feedback, remember the golden rule: be specific, actionable, and respectful.
Examples of Destructive Criticism in the Workplace
We’ve all experienced receiving unsolicited criticism in the workplace that leaves us feeling defeated and discouraged. Here are some examples of destructive criticism you may have encountered:
“You’re Not Good Enough”
This type of criticism attacks your competence and implies that your work is not worthy. A statement like “You’re not good enough” doesn’t provide any constructive feedback to help improve your work. Instead, it tears down your confidence and self-esteem.
“I Don’t Like Your Work”
Whether it’s a colleague or a manager, hearing “I don’t like your work” doesn’t provide any meaningful feedback to help improve your performance. It’s subjective and doesn’t give you any clear direction on what areas you need to work on.
“You’re Doing it Wrong”
This type of criticism is unhelpful because it doesn’t explain how to do it right. It’s like pointing out a mistake without offering any guidance on how to fix it. It causes frustration and doesn’t lead to any productive solutions.
“You Should Have Done it This Way”
This type of criticism is retroactive and doesn’t help you improve your skills for the future. Instead of focusing on how to improve for next time, it points out what you did wrong in the past.
“I Can’t Believe You Did That”
This type of criticism is overly emotional and doesn’t provide any constructive feedback. Instead of addressing the issue at hand, it focuses on the person and their actions, making them feel attacked and defensive.
How to Deal with Destructive Feedback
Now that you’ve seen some examples of destructive criticism in the workplace, it’s important to know how to handle it. Instead of taking it personally, try to focus on the constructive feedback within the criticism. Ask for clear examples and solutions on how you can improve. And if the feedback is overly emotional or unhelpful, don’t be afraid to speak up and communicate how it’s negatively affecting you. Remember, constructive feedback should lead to growth and development, not tear you down.