Another feature of feedback is that it needs to be constructive. Remarks like “this was good” or “you didn’t do it well” are just inputs that you cannot do anything with. They will not help you get where you want to go, they only say something of where you’ve been and what you probably already know. Once I got such a remark, after doing the pilot of a workshop. One of the feedback points was that I had a nice voice. Now of course this was nice to hear, but I do not agree on that, and it didn’t help me in improving the workshop. Proper feedback is formulated in such a way that it tells you something you can use in the future. Better would have been if I was told that because of proper intonation and volume, the participant stayed focused on the content. From that I would have learned that I had this capability, and that I should consciously use it in facilitating workshops. Now, I don’t know if that is the case.
The same goes for feedback on points of improvement. With saying something was bad, or ugly, you tell me I need to improve, but give me no guidance on how to do that. Better feedback would be that I could improve something, by thinking of or learning how-to achieve that something. For example, telling me the slides in my presentation are ugly and incomprehensible doesn’t help me. But giving me the feedback that they were too full of text and had too many colours in it, and that my improvement would be how to use less text and a better colour balance.
This brings me to balance. Feedback is not commenting on negative points, but balancing the positive points with the points to improve. A rule of thumb we use in our company is that you need to feedback on at least as many positive points as points of improvement. And preferably have only one or two more positive points. Because, the positive point are nice to hear, and help you knowing where your strengths are, but a feedback session shouldn’t become an ego trip.
The last thing about feedback is that you are in charge. You ask for feedback, and it is you that has to reflect on it, and see whether you are going to use it, or put it aside with all the good reasons you can think of.
So, if feedback is solicited, from a trusted person, constructive and balanced, then I can see no harm in it. And if you don’t forget that you are in charge, it will help you grow, learn and will not break up your creative process. If it is none of these things, it is just data, mainly designed to show off the self-perceived knowledge or expertise of the sender. Even that can be nice sometimes, if it is positive, but if you have too much of it, you can get lost in the pile. And that will indeed break up your creative process.