Feedback: Take it or Leave it

We all like to be told that we are doing a good job.

But have you ever had someone tell you how to do your job better? That you need to be "doing this" or "doing that" or "if you just did this....then you would get different results" or "You should try worked for me!" or that they just didn't like the way you were doing things?

At some point in your life, someone has been critical of what you are doing or saying and I think I can safely presume, that the criticism was not received well. I am right there with you in your experience!

So let's get clear on the following two words from the very start.


The expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes. 


Information about reactions to a product, a person's performance of a task, etc. which is used as a basis for improvement.

We have all, at some point in our lives, been critical of someone else and told them what we thought! We have also, most likely, had it done to us. 

No-one I know likes or enjoys criticism and when you look at the definition - you can understand why. Who likes having their faults pointed out? Not me! I know what my faults and weaknesses are just like I know what my strengths are and I bet you do too. But criticism is not about what I see - this is about what others THINK they see. 

The problem with criticism is:

 It is not actually helpful because it does not open up any opportunities for improvement

 It is not usually given in a mindful or compassionate manner

 It is often based on the other person's opinions versus what they have actually seen.

We have a tendency to use the term 'constructive criticism' but let's call it what it really is and that is feedback.

I bet you can think of a time, where someone you like and trust, has given you feedback that has helped you to grow or improve. Feedback can encourage and confirm that we are on the right track and it can also help us to see an idea or perspective we may not have seen before.

 So when and how do we start teaching that feedback is a good thing?

And how do we learn how to respond to feedback effectively?

 How do we learn and teach how to give effective feedback?

 First and foremost - WE need to change our perspective on what feedback really is before we can teach our little humans and other adults. It is NOT a personal attack. It is NOT telling you that you are doing a crappy job. It is NOT pointing out everything you are doing wrong in your work and in life! It is certainly NOT about making yourself feel or look better by criticising someone else.

Feedback is designed to support, encourage and support.

Feedback should motivate others to perform better and continue to grow in whatever area they are working in.

 Ask for permission. Even when I give feedback to my students - and remember they are 6 years old - I still ask for permission to give feedback. (I explained very early on what feedback was, why we give it and how we use it.) Not everyone will necessarily want feedback straight away. So it is important to be mindful and considerate and take ten seconds to ask the question first.

 People feel vulnerable when receiving feedback. So be mindful that we are all human and be gentle and compassionate in your approach.

 Stick to the feedback rules. 


1. Good feedback is the key to improvement. 

2. When giving feedback - remember to make your feedback kind, helpful and specific. Two stars and a wish is effective. Stars = what you liked/ enjoyed/ noticed was great or worked well. Wish = something you would like to see/ suggestion for next time.

3. Use 'I' statements. 'I noticed....', 'I observed...' Avoid making assumptions on what you thought you were supposed to be hearing or seeing. Just stick to what you observed.

4. Feedback is one of the essential elements of all communication. So practice getting good at it!

5. Ask good questions: 

 How do you think you went?

 What do you think worked well?

 What was great about....?

 What did you enjoy about....?

 Have you thought about...?

 What do you think could make it even better? (The word even implies it is already good)

 I wonder what would happen if you tried....?


1. Be accepting of any feedback you are given, find something you agree with and then determine how it can help you in the future.

2. Recieve feedback with grace. Remember the person giving the feedback is human and might not say things in the right way even though they have very good intentions. Avoid getting defensive.

3. It is entirely up to you whether you take on the feedback or not. 

4. The reality is: we all need people who will give us feedback. That's how we improve in different areas of life.

5. Seek clarification and ask for examples if you are uncertain about the feedback. It is always better to double check for understanding!



My favourite way of giving feedback to my students on the work is using 'Two Stars and a Wish' 

Simple and effective and it's clear and usable feedback for the kids. This is actually a great idea to keep in mind when giving any feedback to any person.

 Remember to mention the 'stars' first. Don't launch into a list of 'things to fix'! Mention what you thought was great first.

 The quality of your feedback - both in the giving and receiving - is valuable.

  Taking on feedback is needed to go to the next level of learning and growth - regardless of your age. 

 It's very important to have a feedback loop where you're constantly thinking about what you have done and how you could be doing it better.

 Give your own feedback to yourself first. Without judgement. 

See things as they are. No better. No worse.

 See the opportunities when you are given feedback rather than problems. If you receive feedback that you don't necessarily like, say thank you (giving feedback isn't the easiest thing to do either), ensure you seek clarity, write a plan and then work the plan to find ways to be better!

Don't be afraid of feedback. I used to avoid it because I took it to heart. I made it personal when it wasn't. 

Learn to identify the difference between feedback and criticism when you hear it. Ignore the critics but be open to the feedback, especially if it is from someone you like and trust.

Work harder on yourself than anything else and feedback will flow as part of your growth and learning.

 There is only one way to avoid criticism - do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.


Until next week...have a fabulously mindful week!

Clarissa xo



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