Writing about how to give feedback brought back some seriously awkward and painful memories of receiving bad feedback. Truthfully, I deserved all of the bad feedback I got. Some came from kind, respected people with good intent and nice delivery. Some I heard second hand after my supposed "mentors/teachers" complained about me behind my back. Ouch!
Lessons for if you have to GIVE negative feedback:
Talk to each other - If my now-grown-up-(and mentor/teacher)-self has something negative to say about someone I am senior to - it is WAAAAYYYY better for me to say this directly to them. Quite likely - they are going to hear about it eventually so... might as well hear it from me.
HOW you say it is as important was WHAT you say - Actually, I learned this lesson from my younger sister (I was totally the "know it all" older sis - she hated it!). There is always a better, nicer way to say something. Giving negative feedback is hard - I have promised myself that I will contemplate what I am going to say before I actually say it. And I will try to find the kindest way to say it.
Lessons for if you have to RECEIVE negative feedback:
Put down the walls; stop throwing out defenses - aka) just take the feedback!! If you are able to keep the calm, ask any clarifying questions that come to you. Ask questions that make it sound like you care (because deep down you probably do) about what they are saying.
Separate the content of the feedback from the person giving it/way it's being given - This is most applicable if the person is actually being mean about it, or even worse - the feedback is hypocritical or condescending. Mean people can still give good advice. Takes one to know one!
Put yourself in the other person's shoes - Everyone has a bad day sometimes, who hasn't lost it... just a little... at least one time. And some people just never had a nurturing soul to steer them away from being grumpy and mean. Eh! Not your problem, it's theirs. But you can better yourself by taking what they say to heart and working on it.
Bottom line: Neither giving nor receiving negative feedback is easy, but it can be smoother if you have the right frame of mind.