These two terms are so often inter-changed in today’s business world. I have been the recipient of both and sometimes I haven’t taken either too well.
As far as I see things, and please tell me if you understand it differently, criticism and constructive feedback could be considered the same thing.
Let me explain:
I think it depends on my attitude, how I see myself, how I believe in myself and how my character has been, and continues to be, developed.
Constructive feedback is designed to be a positive experience, undertaken by two or more parties who have mutually agreed to work together for the good of the other; to see another grow and develop in skills and understanding. Criticism is often given without thought, with malice or hatred, or with the wish to cause discomfort – and the giver may actually be seeking to exert power over the recipient in the act of criticising.
What if criticism, intended for bringing down someone, is actually received by someone seeking to learn? What if that person is asking the questions “Is there any element in what they are saying that I need to hear, change about myself, and work on further? Is there any truth in what they are saying?”
If I can learn to receive criticism with a learning attitude, seeing it as a lesson from which I can draw a grain of wisdom, then I can defuse the malice, hated and aspiration for power and bring about peace and encouragement – certainly in my life.
And the effect on the criticiser? I sincerely believe that they are affected as well. To what extent and in what way is difficult to determine.