Constructive Feedback- What are you trying to build?

OR
con·struc·tive
kənˈstrəktiv/
adjective: constructive
1. serving a useful purpose; tending to build up.
"constructive criticism"

synonyms: useful, helpful, productive, positive, encouraging

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Pretty simple concept today, folks!  I, as well as many of the people I work with struggle when it comes to providing feedback or sharing ideas in a healthy way. Today, I want to share a very simple thought that I stumbled upon last spring as I was working with a leadership team on the topic of developing their employees. The leader of this group was really stuck on the language of "constructive feedback". In a fairly abrupt way he said that no such thing existed - feedback was not constructive. Before I allowed the discussion to disintegrate into a full blown argument, we took a break. At the break, I was able to find out that this person had not experienced anyone providing him with feedback that was delivered in a way that was intended to help him develop and grow into something more positive.  That was when this simple idea hit me.

What is at the root of the word constructive? CONSTRUCT, which means to build. If we are really providing feedback or sharing an idea that is constructive, we are looking to build something. Not tear down - not minimize - not inform - not placate - not deliver - BUILD! We might be able to build self-esteem, self-awareness, expertise, trust, goals, relationships ...

What if every time you needed to offer a suggestion or provide feedback, the first thought in your head was "what am I trying to build?"   My experience has been that the words come out differently if I think about that first. I've been practicing and it's making a difference!