As professionals, as individuals, as humans, if we strive for self-improvement, we value feedback. Without it, it’s very hard to improve.
Just as much as we need constructive criticism to learn from our mistakes, we also need positive feedback. An occasional pat on the back, when honest, is something that helps us to keep going, to know we’re on the right path. It’s something we should receive and something we should give.
And much like positive feedback, we should also provide feedback to others where we feel things could be improved in. Most of us strive to provide this feedback in the form of constructive criticism, but often this is more reflected in a disclaimer than it is in the actual way in which we communicate it. Because many times, there’s one important aspect missing in the form - empathy.
When providing feedback, we at times focus too much on showing what’s right (or wrong) and how things could be improved and pay little attention in how we transmit that message, in how the person receiving that feedback would interpret it, whether they would feel offended, whether they’d be upset.
We need to be more empathetic. We need to put ourselves in the shoes of the person receiving our comments and think, would we like to be the recipient of such feedback? Saying that people should have thicker skin or that we don’t want to sugar-coat things might sound grandiose, but it doesn’t necessarily provide the desired results.
Next time we write something, we should read it back to ourselves and imagine, if that were directed at us, how we’d feel.