Research shows that people can’t reliably rate the performance of others: More than 50% of your rating of someone reflects your characteristics, not hers. Second, neuroscience reveals that criticism provokes the brain’s “fight or flight” response and inhibits learning. Last, excellence looks different for each individual, so it can’t be defined in advance and transferred from one person to another. It’s also not the opposite of failure.
Neuroscience shows that we grow most when people focus on our strengths. Learning rests on our grasp of what we’re doing well, not what we’re doing poorly, and certainly not on someone else’s sense of what we’re doing poorly.
This article takes a business perspective but applies to many types of feedback practiced in academia.