Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Constructive Criticism

It's funny that how even when I know someone is trying to be constructive, criticism still feels like criticism.  Sometime it is hard to remember that feedback is a gift, especially if when I didn't ask for the feedback.  A while back I received some unexpected feedback and my ego felt the blow, even though it was more of a warning delivered in a fairly kind manner.  

Part of what makes feedback a gift, is being prepared to receive the gift.  I've taken the warning into consideration, and I also try to be more aware of times I might be inclined to give unexpected feedback.  As I write this post, a few situations come to mind that could have been taken as dumping my constructive criticism on someone.  I'm guessing that's how they felt by the defensiveness they projected.

In the Book of Mormon, there's an account of Captain Moroni writing a letter to the governor, condemning him for not sending the necessary men or supplies to the battlefield. Paharon, the governor, had been driven out of the city and was trying to gather the troops and prepare the counter attack.  Even though he was innocent of Captain Moroni's accusations, he responded with patience and kindness.  He even appreciated Moroni's dedication to his country's freedom. Whether you are Mormon or not, this is such a great example of how to handle unexpected feedback and constructive criticism. 

Now I am armed (again) with the lessons of receiving constructive criticism and the reminder to be very careful in giving it.  How do you handle constructive criticism or approach giving it when necessary?

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