Giving feedback is a hit or miss with me. When dealing with people with whom I'm close, I can easily give helpful, constructive feedback, but I dread giving feedback to people I barely know. I'm always afraid my advice will be taken the wrong way, and that it will somehow damage the relationship. I particularly do not like criticizing someone's creative work - I feel as if it is not my place, especially considering I'm not very creative myself.
Lately I've developed even more negative feelings about feedback, and I feel that it is because of my job. Don't get me wrong, I love my job! I have great coworkers and a great boss, but it's just that sometimes the feedback my coworkers and I get at work is a little... nitpicky. We will get critiqued even over small things, and even when they are simple oversights, like forgetting one piece of tape in preparation for a surgery. It is also frustrating sometimes because all of the employees will get critiqued when one person makes a small error. We have a coworker who only works 1 of every 6 weekends, and that's it, so he's very rarely there. He doesn't restock the clinic when he works, and sometimes leaves a mess for us to deal with the following week, but he never gets critiqued, and in fact has critiqued the rest of us to our boss, causing everyone to get "a talking to"! That is just one of many examples, but it's caused me to be somewhat resentful toward critique in general, but I digress...
The articles I read provided helpful information on both giving and receiving critique. I found the most helpful article about giving feedback was Be a Mirror: Give Readers Feedback that Fosters a Growth Mindset by Gravity Goldberg. The most important point, to me, was taking yourself out of the feedback. Instead of saying things like "I think..." or "I like how you...", you focus on the author and say things like "when you..." I also liked the point about not talking about what they may have missed, as "a mirror cannot reflect back what is not there." The author also discusses the importance of focusing on the author's process and appreciating their effort.
I think I will have a far easier time receiving feedback rather than giving it. I don't mind if someone likes or dislikes my writing. I doubt I will be particularly proud of anything I write creatively in this class, because it's just such a hard process for me, and something that I find hard to improve on, especially with so little free time.
One thing I'm a little confused about is the fact that things articles don't really highlight giving criticism, but mostly deal with how to praise someone in a healthy way. Not that I want to go around slamming other students' work, but what if I don't really like it? Should I only focus on what I DO like, and not what I think could be improved? Because if so, what is really the point?
The False Mirror by cea + on Flickr