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'Feedback' IS easier on employees (and everyone else) than 'criticism'
All criticism is feedback; not all feedback is criticism. Employees whose fragile self-esteems resent 'criticism' are given the emotional loophole provided by the rubric of 'feedback': the issue can be addressed without them feeling 'criticized'. The term 'criticize' means 'call to account'. The opposite of 'critic' is 'proponent'; the opposite of 'critical' (in this context) is 'laudatory'....unlike the entertainment industry, where "Critics RAVE about the new high-octane thrill ride starring....". Critics criticize; ENTHUSIASTS rave. In the real world, 'feedback' gets more accomplished, and is more easily absorbed by its object, than 'criticism'.