Steve Boese says You Call It “Feedback;” They Hear It As “Criticism”

Steve Boese Worldwide FOT

Let’s start with some level setting and definitions:

Feedback (noun) – reaction to a process or activity, or the information obtained from such a reaction

Criticism (noun) – an ​opinion given about something or someone, esp. a ​negative ​opinion, or the ​activity of making such ​judgments

Feedback, especially when you fold in the more technical elements or applications of the term, (like feedback from a machine or from some kind of industrial or mechanical process), more or less connotes neutrality, impartiality, and crucially, accuracy. Sure, sometimes feedback slants negative, but it should be accurately negative, if such a term exists. Because when negative feedback gets interpreted by the recipient of said feedback as being unfairly or inappropriately negative, then it ceases to really be feedback at all, and becomes criticism.

Read the whole post over at Steve Boese’s HR Technology Journal (an FOT contributor blog).