Make a distinction between criticism, feedback, and encouragement, and ask for the one you really want.
- Criticism is filled with judgements based on right and wrong, good and evil.
- Encouragement is the intentional act of supporting someone in pursuing their objectives, regardless of how it’s going at the moment.
- Feedback is open, honest communication about how we or our actions are being perceived by other people
Any form of communication about our software or services from our development co-workers, testing team members, quality assurance, management and especially our end users is an opportunity for us to learn and improve - to learn and improve our software, the domain or business area it works in, and our relationship with the person we’re communicating with.
Of the 3 options Michael Neill presents, I think everyone prefers receiving Encouragement and Feedback rather than Criticism, but that’s more to do with favouring a pleasant delivery - especially considering that the message itself comprises only 7% of the communication. Wouldn’t you rather receive the same message in a nicer way?
And the chances are that if you would, then it’s highly likely that everyone else would too. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense to phrase your criticism as encouragement or feedback? and encourage feedback from those you communicate with?