At the heart of critical feedback is the dream for a better way to interact with each other. At the same time, as it is feedback to someone else, it is also the intention for that person to be different.
Both ideas are based on the desire to reduce one’s own anxiety or challenges in interacting with the other person. Similarly, positive feedback can be there to prevent the person from changing or to keep that person more predictable by inviting her to stick to the positive habits.
Seen from this perspective, feedback is also a wish to control the other.
That may make it easier to see how feedback can also generate resistance as well as a sense of threat. The latter, especially, if there is a hierarchical relationship, adds to the temporary position of power taken by the feedback giver.
It also gives a cue to ask ourselves why we want to give specific feedback. That is to ask ourselves what there is in it, for us.
But understanding why we want to give specific feedback is not sufficient. There is also the need to understand if the feedback we are giving relates to the other person’s goals and ambitions. That is, our feedback needs to serve their purpose.
Feedback is also about the relationship and the interaction people have with one another. This makes it relevant to think about the ways we contribute to that behavior we want to give feedback on. Interaction always comes with some reciprocity and shared responsibility. It shouldn’t be neglected and actually be part of the desired change.