Thoughts on Constructive Criticism
Almost everyone who plays or has played a sport has received constructive criticism. A batter who was struggling to make solid contact is told by the coach to keep her elbow high. By hearing that suggestion and trying to carry it out the hitter’s swing is leveled out. This allows her to hit the ball more squarely and transfer more energy to the ball while maintaining a flatter trajectory resulting in an extra base hit.
Especially in our adult lives. When we leave the field of play we lose a vital perspective on our interactions with others. People who offer us criticisms are generally trying to be on our team. They are trying to help. When we take away the coach’s hat constructive criticism is often misconstrued as an attack or an insult.
When someone gives you constructive criticism it’s generally our first instinct to become embarrassed or even defensive. It’s essential before you react, or overreact to understand that this is not an attack on you as a person or even as a player. Take a deep breath and have an open mind. Constructive criticism is not an insult; it’s an attempt to help you find a different (hopefully easier / more effective) path to your objectives.
Don’t take it personally. If someone approaches you with constructive criticism they are indicating that they believe you have the potential to hear what they are suggesting and that you are capable of putting their observations to work for your benefit. Try and remember that there is a difference between a reprimand and constructive criticism. Generally speaking a reprimand comes when the person speaking believes that you had an opportunity to know in advance what was expected of you and reprimands are typically accompanied by consequences.
If you can remove defensiveness from the situation, you have the opportunity to truly listen to what is being asked of you and why. Listen attentively don’t jump to conclusions and don’t start preparing any counterpoints, instead pay attention and learn from what is being offered. If you don’t understand exactly what is being asked or how to carry the advice forward ask specific questions. If possible show that you were listening by reiterating the concepts you did understand.
If you are dedicated to improving having an outsider’s perspective can be an invaluable tool. When someone takes an interest in helping you to grow as a player you can show them that you appreciate their help by first taking their advice and then following up to share how you implemented change and what impact that change has had. You might say, “I started animation cancelling my Bombard with a bar swap and now I have enough time to weave in a heavy attack while I still have my major brutality buff. I notice that I’m doing more damage and now my ultimate seems to be ready more frequently.” Since the person providing advice was trying to help you, your acknowledgement that their advice worked is just the reward for which they were looking. It’s also a good idea to say thank you.
Ultimately, receiving constructive criticism is not about acquiescing to someone else’s way of doing something. Instead it should be a way that two people can work together to find their new way of doing something.
SavageFire124 - Trials Commander