Giving and Receiving Feedback

As already stated, when giving feedback, it is crucial that the giver address the problem and not the person. A good way to test this is to ask why the criticism is being given? The purpose should always be to help. Givers should also keep in mind the EPM formula of feedback: Empathetic - establishes cooperative tone; Pinpoint problems - be specific; Move forward - find a solution.

When receiving feedback, the 4A formula will help to put receivers in a position of strength because they allow receivers to maintain emotional control while gaining maximum benefit from the criticism given: anticipate, ask questions, agree with something, analyze.

Furthermore, when receiving feedback, receivers should always look for an opportunity to learn. This can require some emotional detachment as is can be difficult to not take the criticism personally. This is especially true if the giver lacks tact. Sometimes he or she will be inaccurate or even hostile. However, even in these circumstances, it is possible to learn from criticism. To do so, look for learning opportunities on three different levels:

  1. Facts - factual elements within the commentary that are worth investigating
  2. Perception - considering the giver's / receiver's perception can teaching about t a perception or communications problem and / or a misunderstanding (what one sees as a lot of work, another may see as an opportunity)
  3. Relationship - between the giver and the receiver, individuals should avoid blaming if there is an unresolved relationship problem

(Adapted from the video, The Arts of Criticism ...Giving and Taking, Kantola Productions, California, USA, 1999.)