To Critique or Evaluate?
On occasion in life we are asked to give feedback to others. Feedback can be a very valuable gift. What feedback we give and the value of our feedback to others is heavily influenced by our frame of reference in providing our feedback. Some people prefer to offer feedback as a CRITIQUE versus an EVALUATION.
These two words have very different meanings. Webster's Dictionary defines the words this way:
Critique, an act of criticizing
Evaluate, to determine or fix the value of
I believe that when most people ask for feedback they are not really asking for a lot of criticism.
During my years in Toastmasters I had the opportunity to evaluate many speeches given by others. The Evaluator function in a Toastmasters meeting is very important to the growth of speakers as it provides important feedback to the speaker on how others view their public speaking skills. As such the the Evaluator gives the speaker a gift of feedback. (Make note Toastmasters has titled the position Evaluator - one who finds value and not one who criticizes.) In this role an Evaluator is expected to give three example of the good things he observed in the speech he is evaluating before he offers a single example of what might be improved. Three good comments given before one comment (3 to 1) to improve is given. Not a bad ratio for a Toastmaster Evaluator to follow and not a bad ratio for giving feedback in life.
There is a leadership principle called PEOPLE (professionalism, empathy, optimism, partnership, loyalty, empowerment) that is receiving a lot of attention. I believe a person who routinely engages in critiqueing the work of others actually violates all the principles taught in PEOPLE. Constatnly criticising others: is very unprofessional; it shows NO empathy for others; it is pessimistic and not optimistic; it destroys positive relations with those being constantly criticized; is is being disloyal to others; and it does not empower others to do better. I personally look at others who constantly criticize the work of other as being very arrogant, because they can only find fault in the work of others. They intintionally ignore the good work of others when the only criticize.
Those who routinely focus on criticizing the work of others, as opposed to determining the value of that work, bring a symbolic image to mind. The image is the southern view of a horse, a big tall white horse traveling north. Soon it become evident the horse likes to drop road apples in the path of others.
Road apples make good fertilizer for the garden. Thank you big tall white horses for sharing all your road apples!
"Have a nice day!", all you white horses with your back sides exposed.