The ability to give feedback in a workplace setting can be one of the hardest things to do. It’s intimidating, nerve-wracking, and uncomfortable. As humans, we have desires to feel appreciated, cared for and respected, but giving feedback (especially when it’s constructive) can seemingly go against these innate desires. But it doesn’t have to! What if you could give someone constructive (what we often call negative) feedback and have them leave the conversation feeling MORE appreciated, MORE cared for and MORE respected? With the appropriate intentions, awareness, and preparation, this can absolutely be done.
Try using the following tips the next time you have some feedback to give.
Always ask yourself the question “What am I trying to achieve by sharing this feedback?” If the answer is to genuinely help the other person, go for it. If not, take some time and work towards being in a place where that becomes your answer. People will feel your true intent, so make sure that intent is about supporting them, not meeting your own agenda.
We all have our good days and bad days. Before you start your conversation, ask them if this would be a good time to chat? Giving you permission for the conversation allows the conversation to start off from a point of agreement and openness.
When giving feedback make sure to stay true to the facts and what you have observed. Be clear, go in chronological order, and avoid interpreting the facts (just simply state them).
When telling someone how you feel, it’s important to ensure that you don’t minimize or exaggerate your feelings. Be real and make sure you describe your feelings at the level at which you feel them. When you sugarcoat or exaggerate emotions, the message can often times be misunderstood.
Create an action plan moving forward. This can often times be done with a statement like “next time, what I would like is ….” Ensuring that there is a clear agreement about future actions allows you to leave the conversation knowing that it was understood by both parties.
If there is someone in your life that you need to share some feedback with, I’d encourage you to do so using these tips. Remember that feedback is a gift and if we are able to treat it as such, we can drastically change our environments and relationships for the better.