Constructive criticism: Why it is useful for your personal growth

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Constructive criticism: Why it is useful for your personal growth

There's no question about it: no one likes to be criticized. After all, it usually means that you have made a mistake. However, constructive criticism can help you to develop personally. How to communicate constructive criticism effectively and how you can learn to use it for your own benefit. productive to use, you will learn in the following article.

What is meant by constructive criticism

First of all, constructive criticism is also criticism. It is intended to point out a mistake and encourage someone to change their behavior. However, the tone should always remain objective. Those who offer constructive criticism refrain from reproaches and insults. A respectful communication is the central feature.

Furthermore, the respective error should not only be named. Constructive criticism basically contains an impulse for improvement. Devaluing the other person is not the goal. The problematic situation is always in the foreground, not the person.

Constructive vs. destructive criticism: What is the difference?

Constructive criticism is contrasted with destructive criticism. As you can imagine, the recipient can work less well or not at all productively with the latter. We have summarized the main differences below.

Constructive criticism:

  • factual and appreciative
  • No insults
  • Impetus for improvement
  • Criticism refers to the situation, not the person
  • concrete criticisms
  • I-messages
  • positive learning effect for the recipient

Destructive criticism:

  • personal attacks and insults
  • no purposeful arguments
  • No proposed solutions
  • Blame
  • Motivation consists of a desire for revenge, dissatisfaction, or a desire to relieve frustration.
  • imprecise criticism
  • No learning effect for the recipient
critical faculties

The 5 crucial elements of constructive criticism

Constructive criticism is composed of five elements:

1. precision

In the context of constructive criticism, you name the behavior that is being criticized clearly and unambiguously. The goal is not to gloss over mistakes or beat around the bush. However, you must remain objective: emotional outbursts are counterproductive. It is also important that you are open to possible counter-arguments and to differing points of view.

2. situational criticism

Nothing is more destructive than generalizing criticism. Accordingly, you should avoid reproaches that include "always" and "all" at all costs. Concentrate on the current situation, without getting into the Past digress.

3. problem analysis

The goal of constructive criticism is to solve the problem at hand. In order to solve problems, you have to find out their origin. This means that you include the external circumstances as well as the personal situation of the criticized person. Reflecting on the situation leads to helpful conclusions, which in turn help you suggest helpful solutions.

4. solution impulses

Constructive criticism is not voiced to vent personal anger, but to bring about meaningful change. For this purpose, it is important that you not only note what was wrong, but also make a suggestion for improvement.

5. ego messages

Constructive criticism is always formulated in the form of "I" messages. The opinions of other people are not taken into account. It depends solely on your observations. The latter is an important keyword: Your observations do not necessarily have to be true:

  • Instead of: "You have ..." (reproach)
  • Rather, "I noticed that ..." (Observation)

How to communicate constructive criticism effectively

In order to communicate constructive criticism appropriately, there are some Rules of the game to keep in mind. First of all, it is important that you take sufficient time for the (personal) discussion. Constructive criticism cannot be practiced between door and door! Prepare yourself mentally for the conversation by formulating the points of criticism as concretely as possible.

Furthermore, it is important that you keep a personal distance. If you are in a state of rage, you should rather postpone the conversation. Make sure you send first-person messages and refrain from generalizations and accusations. Limit your criticism to the situation at hand and avoid attacking your conversation partner personally.

The 3 most common mistakes in constructive criticism and how to avoid them

Well-intentioned is not always well done. Therefore, avoid the following three mistakes at all costs:

Mistake number 1: You are too direct

Addressing true facts is not a free pass to behave tactlessly. This also applies if you are demonstrably in the right. Therefore, intervene with tact. After all, you want your counterpart to listen to you and open up to your criticism.

This does not mean that you should wrap the person in absorbent cotton or gloss over mistakes. It is simply a matter of maintaining an appreciative tone. Be careful not to stray to the personal level. Constructive criticism is always factual.

Mistake number 2: You let your personal anger get the better of you

If you decide to criticize someone, you should be in an emotionally balanced state during this conversation. A common mistake is to confront the other person immediately after the offense. However, to be able to criticize constructively, you need to have some distance from the situation.

Mistake number 3: You use generalizations

As soon as the words "always" or "everyone" cross your lips, you know that your criticism is destructive in nature. If you want to give constructive criticism, you should refrain from generalizations of any kind. Admittedly, it is not that easy to be careful. But it's worth it, because when you make generalizations or use reproachful phrases, the person you're talking to immediately goes into overdrive.

7 strategies to accept constructive criticism positively and learn from it

And what about when you are not the sender but the receiver of constructive criticism? Being criticized is undoubtedly not a pleasant experience. Feeling. However, without feedback you also have no chance to recognize, correct and learn from mistakes.

Put simply, you would be denied the opportunity for personal growth. For this reason, you should see constructive criticism as something positive. To do this, however, you must first be able to accept it. You can do this with the help of the following seven strategies.

1. keep distance

What is true for the critic is also important for the receiver: try to make the critique not as an attack against your person! Avoid justifying yourself or launching a verbal counterattack. Instead, check self-criticalwhether there could be a kernel of truth. Explain your motives objectively and without excuses.

2. listen

Let the critic finish speaking in peace before you describe your view of things. If you constantly interrupt the other person, you will not be able to concentrate on the content of the criticism. However, this is essential if you want to learn from the feedback.

3. take responsibility

Let the constructive criticism sink in before you look for reasons to justify it. Question not only the criticism, but also yourself: What possible solutions are there and how can you contribute to them?

4. dare to ask questions

If you cannot understand the point of view of the person you are talking to, do not be afraid to ask questions or to ask for more specifics about the points of criticism. Only when you have understood the constructive criticism can you deal with the feedback productively.

5. demand a code of conduct

In order to be able to accept criticism, it must be presented at eye level. If you have the impression that this is not the case, then ask your critic to be objective. If this is not possible at this point, the discussion should be postponed.

6. decide which criticisms you accept

Compare the criticism with your point of view: Possibly there are some aspects where you have to agree with your critic? What would change positively if you put the suggestions for improvement into practice?

7. be grateful for the criticism

Constructive criticism is a sign of appreciation. You and your work are seemingly not indifferentotherwise he would not make the effort. Because also for the critic such a conversation costs overcoming.

dealing with constructive criticism

Why constructive criticism is a valuable tool for personal growth

Receiving constructive criticism from other people contributes enormously to your personal growth process by showing you potential areas for improvement. If no one were to point this out to you Potential you would have no chance to implement improvements. You would literally be treading water, repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

Who takes the trouble to give you a constructive feedback who cares about your performance and your development. It is therefore all the more important not to take this personally, but to examine the feedback self-critically and be open to new impulses. In this way, you can make better decisions in the future, which in turn will make you more successful. more confident makes.

Practical tips for implementing constructive criticism in the work environment

Constructive criticism is particularly important in the work environment in order to optimize processes and ensure a harmonious working atmosphere. 

These tips can help you do that:

  1. A constructive feedback discussion always takes place in private, never in front of colleagues. At best, agree on a fixed date when there will be no disruptions.
  2. Start with praise before you criticize. Your colleague's or employee's willingness to listen to you is noticeably greater this way.
  3. Instead of: "You're late again! Ms. X has had to stay late for the second time this week so that production doesn't come to a standstill." Rather: "We are basically very satisfied with your work performance. happy. The only thing we need to talk about today is punctuality." Especially if you want to offer constructive criticism in a professional environment, it makes sense to make suggestions for improvement at the same time: "I would consider it purposeful if we changed the procedures according to xy. Could you imagine this approach?"

Constructive criticism: A transformative force for personal development and self-love

Without the ability to accept constructive criticism and work with it productively, you are denied the opportunity for personal growth. The experience of improving and achieving goals through constructive criticism leads to more Self-confidence and self-love.

In this context we would like to offer you our free Masterclass More confident through coaching to the heart. In just one and a half hours, you will learn how to effectively strengthen your self-confidence and take control of your future.


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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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