Don’t Take Ownership

The goal of feedback is to elicit a behavior change. So it’s not over until you agree on what they’ll do differently next time.

Not suggesting a solution can be a good course of action to avoid a repeat of the issue. It’s their issue and they'll be more committed to a solution if it is theirs.

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Communication

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“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.” 

 Abraham Lincoln

The Importance Of Negative Feedback

Even when poor behavior affects our work negatively and we have a regularly established open space for criticism, we still often hold back for fear of getting a negative reaction.

Most people rather receive feedback on what they did wrong than just praise on their successes. So while we tend to categorize this as negative feedback, the communication is often viewed positively.

Don’t Overcomplicate Criticism

Too often, people over complicate the process of giving corrective feedback. It doesn’t require elaborate stories or some pop psychology analysis. 

Just a straightforward discussion with a few key points will do.

Establishing A Shared Purpose While Criticizing

Often people refuse to listen to feedback because they think we have ulterior motives. So, to have people listen to our feedback, we need to establish that our interests align by asking about their interests, and actively listening to their concerns.

When people realize we’re working towards a common goal, they understand that we care about their interests and values. And consequently they’re more receptive to our input.

How To Conduct An Argument

Facts are the foundation and the least controversial part of an argument. So, it’s easier to start by establishing and agreeing on the facts.

State the expectation, the facts of what happened and let the other person explain why there’s a difference. Once facts are agreed upon, explain, without piling it on, the consequences of their behavior so they understand the impact they had on the matter. 

Showing People You Care About An Issue
  1. Take an interest in people.
  2. Understand their values and how they influence their goals.
  3. Ask questions and take the time to learn where they want to go.

Corrective feedback should not shame people into compliance as it makes them more likely to disengage and withdraw from future situations. Or become defensive and blame others for their behaviors. Which is the opposite of the goal.

Alternatively, a feedback that causes guilt encourages us to compare our behavior against our own performance standards and recognize the difference. This cognitive dissonance propels us to change.

Bad companies ignore or try to get rid of poor performing employees, never addressing the issue. Ideally, a company should hold regular discussions to handle issues and the responsibility for feedback be shared and encouraged by everyone in the organization.

Peer-provided feedback is the most effective improvement tool available to organizations. While management only sees part of an employee’s actions, peers work more closely and more often with their coworkers thus being able to provide more accurate feedback.

  1. It’s much easier to correct a minor issue than a major one. So once you see something, say something.
  2. The only negative feedback is feedback that doesn’t support future improvement.
  3. If you cannot think of a way to give your criticism so that it supports future improvement, then keep it to yourself until you can.
  4. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
  5. First agree on the facts. Then discuss the impacts.
  6. Focus on the behaviors and what someone did rather than what type of person you imagine him or her to be.
  7. People are much more committed to a solution if they own it.

When most people consider giving corrective feedback, they often picture horrible confrontations. Thus they put it off until the problem becomes too big to ignore.

This avoidance normalizes poor behavior, that doesn’t usually get better on its own. And the shy critic is likely to struggle to address it the next time since they’ve previously allowed it. 

Criticism Reception

Many believe that most people aren’t open to criticism, but a study indicates that most employees who rated their manager poorly also noted that he or she did not provide sufficient feedback. The study indicates a willingness to receive criticism and grow as a professional, as well as a management evaluation based on quality and quantity of corrective feedback.

People who complain about others’ general unwillingness to learn, are likely using the complaint to mask their own inability to offer worthwhile feedback.

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RELATED IDEAS

Embrace Your Imperfections

It's freeing and relaxing to stop holding yourself to insanely high standards. Success overwhelmingly requires failure and perseverance, not perfection.

So relax your standards just a little. If you give yourself the same empathy you'd show a friend, it will be so much easier to take on self-criticism and win. 

9

IDEAS

Criticism weighs more on our emotions than praise does. 

We remember negative events more vividly than positive ones, and we give more emotional weight to a loss than an equivalent gain.

Criticism is a good thing
It illustrates what you're doing right, what you're doing wrong, and what you can do to become better at your job.

No matter how good or how seasoned you are, there's always room to grow.

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