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What is the difference between Feedback and Criticism?

Knowing the difference between feedback and criticism is mandatory if you are looking to improve your work as a professional or if you want to improve your team as a manager or team leader.

What is feedback?

As per Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of feedback in a professional context is the transmission of evaluative or corrective information about an action, event, or process to the original or controlling source, also the information so transmitted.

As the definition clearly states, feedback is about one professional giving another professional relevant information with the goal of improving the quality of a piece of content (social media post design, blog post, project, software, song, book, etc).

Feedback is usually requested by the owner or creator of the respective piece of content. It’s an intermediary stage before the project is closed and delivered to the client. The person giving the feedback is either the manager or team member.

When there is a process in place, with clearly set stages (brainstorming, early draft, feedback, feedback implementation, final work), feedback is mandatory and given at a particular stage in the process.

What should your feedback contain?

Useful feedback doesn’t focus on the elements that could use improvement only. Your feedback should also acknowledge what the creator did right whether it’s choice of colour, overall vibe or tone, appropriate use of brand assets and style.

Start with the positive to put the creator in a relaxed frame of mind, build trust and show them your goal is to help them improve and grow.

After that, talk about what elements they should do further work on. Refrain from using What is wrong about your piece of content is….. Instead, use The elements which require further work are …..

Avoid ambiguity or general statements. Be specific and always explain your feedback: because the colours are not on-brand or because the copy for the social media post doesn’t observe the brand’s archetype, etc.

Suggest solutions or resources that can help the creator solve a particular problem or inspire them with a different approach.

What to consider when giving feedback

In a timely manner. Provide feedback immediately if possible when the work is fresh and the creator is open to suggestions and improvements.

Don’t use You or Should statements. Providing feedback with You did this or You should have done will make the other person feel attacked. When you centre your feedback on the other person, they will feel discouraged and their self-esteem and confidence will plummet. How are they going to implement your feedback if you’ve made them feel like a failure?

Focus on positive motivation. Your feedback should empower the creator to take your suggestions and improve the respective piece of content.

Be specific and focus on facts. How will the creator improve the content if your feedback is vague or general or based on your opinion? Your opinion is not feedback. An opinion is a personal view about something which is not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. Your opinion could be influenced by personal preferences or biases.

Always say why. This is the part where the person receiving your feedback learns the most from. When your explanation is on point, you help the creator to self-correct next time. If you explain that the campaign doesn’t get the green light because it doesn’t address the customer’s main pain point, you set the team for success with their next campaign. The first thing they will be asking themselves before presenting their campaign idea to you will be Is this a relevant solution for our customers?

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What is criticism?

As per Merriam-Webster dictionary, criticism is the act of criticizing usually unfavourably. Criticism is focused on highlighting faults without offering solutions.

What’s the difference between feedback and criticism?

When?
If we look at the respective piece of content as the result of a process, feedback is at an intermediary stage in the creation process, before the content is done and delivered to the client. Criticism is given after the process has ended and the project has been delivered.

Who?
Feedback is requested by the owner of the project or provided mandatory by the project manager or team members. Criticism is not requested, it is given by the project’s client.

Goal
The goal of feedback is to improve the end result. The goal of criticism is to highlight the shortcomings of the end result and sometimes of the creator himself.

Result
After receiving feedback on their work, creators feel empowered to improve and do better next time having been given relevant tools to do so. Because criticism only focuses on what’s wrong with the project or piece of content, it could negatively affect the creator’s self-esteem and lead to low confidence levels.

Challenges
Providing feedback requires communication skills that need exercising. Feedback is a combination of fact-based explanation, solutions and empathy. Criticism is mostly negative, judgemental and speaks more about the person giving it than the person at the receiving end.

Conclusion

In a professional environment, and especially inside the workplace, feedback is the most appropriate tool. Feedback creates trust, facilitates learning and growing and it’s the preferred manner in which more experienced professionals share their knowledge and expertise. It is motivating.

Criticism leads to low self-esteem and confidence among the employees and teaches them to use a negative way of communication. The professionals receiving criticism don’t learn anything and could foster resentment towards the person criticizing them and making them feel bad about themselves. It creates a toxic work environment and could affect the bottom line of the business.

BM23 - James Clear

Top 10 Tips for Branding Yourself

source: Working Voices

Living in the era of social media power, when the information is the key and in everybody’s reach, finding oneself’s niche and becoming known is getting a more and more difficult task to accomplish. Even at first glance it seems the reality is exactly the opposite, the rapidity in which one can get into the public’s eye, but at the same time fade away, makes it even harder than before to make it last and create a strategic and smart path for one’s good brand positioning.

We’ve prepared some tips that we hope will help you on your road to success:

  1. Asses the market you are working on

Knowing the past, the competition and the market you are activating on is key in order to create a good positioning for your brand.

  1. Look deep within yourself and find your best features

According to Robert Half, branding yourself begins with self-reflection. Take stock of your strengths. What are your best attributes? What positive adjectives might a colleague use to describe you? Is there one particular talent or discipline in which you truly shine? What’s your personality? If you’re just beginning your career, choose a discipline or area of focus that truly interests you. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Hard-working, focused and reserved people get ahead just as often as social butterflies.

  1. Work on developing them even more

Go to extra classes / courses, attend workshops and seminars that will help be become even better on your field of expertize and that will enhance your talents. Learning never ends, no matter the time in your career you are at.

  1. Of all of them find the differentiator, your USP (unique selling point), that makes you unique

The USP is the big idea that brands are always searching for. A USP gives a brand a compelling and unique value proposition with its target audience. “Likewise, you want to represent something special that sets you apart from others and establishes a value equation about your abilities when you are pitching yourself for a job, a promotion or a free-lance assignment,” says Catherine Kaputa in Huffington Post.

  1. Define your brand and become an expert

Take the time to do some soul searching and determine exactly who you are and what makes up your brand. Whether you’re looking to garner media attention, attract new clients or build your business, you should focus on becoming an expert in your field. Avoid establishing an expertise that’s irrelevant to your mission, goals, and vision. You’ll just be wasting your time.

  1. Be present in the market and make yourself known

Make sure you are present at the most important events in your industry and start conversations with the right persons, the ones with whom the association with will help your brand and your career. Ask questions, mingle, try and show your expertize as much as you can.

  1. Generate brand awareness through networking and promotion

You should be connecting with other professionals in the industry by using social networks and commenting on their blogs. Networking is one of the best ways to become known in the industry. By forming relationships with people in your audience, you can grow your business and your brand long-term.

In time, once you have a known and appreciated voice try using the PR tools available to you and get your name out there.

  1. Be a constant presence on the social media channels that are representative for your work

Depending on the industry you are activating on make sure you know what social media channel suits you the best. Not every industry fits you having a profile on Linkedin and Facebook at the same time, not every industry requires an Instagram or Snapchat account. Also, make sure that the content you are delivering is customized to that specific social media account.

  1. Always keep on expending your network, strategic partnerships and focus on the game plan

The networks are meant to evolve, not stand by. So is the industry you are activating on. Moreover, you can never know what the future holds. The more people you know, the merrier. The more connected you are, the better. Make sure that at the same time you don’t lose the focus on your “final” game plan.

  1. Don’t look focus, get rid of your ego and accept criticism

According to the AICPA specialists, the true measure of your brand is the reputation others hold of you in their hearts and minds. Notice how they introduce you to others. Ask them what your top brand attributes and core strengths are. If they can easily tell you, then you’ve succeeded in branding you.

“These days, branding the company you work for isn’t enough. The world wants to hear what you have to say as a professional within a company. The work involved in uncovering your brand may seem daunting, but your efforts can benefit you immeasurably. Your unique brand message differentiates the best you have to offer, gives a good indication of what you’re like to work with, and shows how you make things happen,” says the American Institute of CPAs.

When it comes to being the best the ego shouldn’t be standing in your way. Accept the criticism, as it will only make you better and help you achieve your goals.

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