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Feedback Is More Than Praise and Criticism

Last updated: 23.07.18
Feedback Is More Than Praise and Criticism

Use feedback as an opportunity for personal development: Tips on how to take feedback and translate it into change and satisfaction.


"Yes, yes, I know feedback, people use it to complain!", "So, no helpful stuff comes out of it anyway!", or "Feedback is the back door people use to say really nasty negative things to someone!" - I hear all those kind of sentences when I tell people how important and helpful feedback is for me.

Okay, I've also received strange or questionable feedback that was very personal, insulting and garnished with school gradings. Since I had to endure such feedback, I asked superiors, colleagues and friends what they thought about it. The feedback rules are easy to find - implementing these rules is apparently not that easy.


What are the benefits of feedback for myself?

Helpful tips on how the feedback recipient can use a piece of feedback for themselves are  scarcely available. That’s because every piece of feedback has a particular effect on oneself. Meanwhile, every feedback I receive is helpful, even if it does not help me professionally because it was unobjective and perhaps offensive. But this feedback strengthens me, because I know that the feedback provider apparently couldn't do better and fortunately I can handle it calmly. Huh, I could give the feedback provider some feedback so they can make progress.

Here are the feedback rules for you to recall.


Feedback rules

Feedback should be given promptly, which means that feedback can also be requested. For this reason, this rule applies to the feedback provider as well as to the feedback recipient.


Feedback provider

Get approval to give feedback! - No approval = no feedback

Direct address: You

Speak for yourself: I

What made a positive impression? What needs to be developed?

No blame, no harm, no judgments

Formulating potential-oriented suggestions for improvement

Precise observations

No generalizations or exaggerations

Feedback refers to actions and not to personal characteristics!

Closing: positive closing line


Feedback recipient

Consent to feedback! - Rejection of feedback without explanation or justification!

Listen first!

No justification or defense of behavior

Ask for concretization to ensure understanding

Thank for the feedback

Take time to accept, review and weigh the information


The process of feedback roughly at a glance.


How do I use feedback for myself?

I sort the information by category, or ask myself the following questions:

What went well?

What do I want to keep?

What can I improve?

What can I change?

What do I deliberately not want to change?


I will look again at the questions "What can I improve?" and "What can I change?" later in order to expand them.

What do I want to improve and how?

What do I want to change and how?


A tip at this point: Try to concentrate on one, two or maybe three things you would like to change, even if you want to apply several changes. Every change is good and should feel familiar and natural. Sometimes this good feeling takes time and practice.

I think it's very important to try something new and then say: "That feels good" or "Oh, dear, that doesn't suit me at all!", and to be allowed to change your mind later on.

At the very end, I look at the question "What do I deliberately not want to change?", because with this question I assure and also question myself as a person.


Take your time after the feedback and put together your own package at the end.


Without feedback you stand still

Meanwhile, there is something in every piece of feedback that allows me to move forward, no matter what that feedback looks like. Of course it is also easier for me if I get feedback according to the rules or at least a respectful one. But if I don't get any feedback, I might stand still and make the same mistakes over and over again.