Do you struggle with constructive criticism and feedback?
This is the first part of our article series about the art of giving and receiving constructive feedback.
“You are not going to get very far in life based on what you already know.” Charlie Munger
Studies show that constructive and helpful feedback is the key to success for a company. It increases innovation, trust and employee satisfaction. Receiving and giving feedback improve our performance and productivity.
Poor and non-constructive feedback can bring confusion as well as fear and demotivation; that being said, it seems really important to manage the art of giving constructive criticisms.
Giving constructive feedback can be challenging when we care about the possibility to negatively affect our relationships. It is then essential to know how to do it properly.
How to deliver constructive feedback?
7 steps to give constructive feedback
Giving constructive feedback can be a delicate and tricky thing. Luckily for you, by following our 7 steps process, you can already improve the way your give feedback without hurting your interlocutor’s feelings. So, if you have to criticise, be sure to follow the suggested process below to formulate constructive feedback.
1.Listen: give your interlocutor a chance to share and listen to what he has to say
It is important to ask your interlocutor why he was not been efficient this week / if something was wrong / or if he needs to tell you something
Efficiency at work is definitely linked to the personal life and general well-being.
2. Praise a lot, do not only point the negative
3. Share your vision: explain why you are not satisfied. People are not mind readers; you have to share your point of view. Blaming is not constructive; you should explain why you are disappointed so that your interlocutor understands what he needs to work on.
4. Stay calm: take some time and distance if necessary to allow yourself to calm down.
You should never share immediate feedback when having strong (negative) emotions: stay calm and take a step back. We usually regret what we say under strong emotions. Explain yourself clearly with a calm voice.
5. Watch your body language (voice, intonation, look…)
6. Praise in public, criticise in private. Be aware that your interlocutor can feel uncomfortable to be criticised in public and he can feel shame, anger or fear. Keep this kind of conversation private.
7.Never wait more than 24h, address the problems as soon as possible
Be well aware of the words you use, you can’t say everything that comes to your mind at that time.
“I am fed up with you, you are always late. You are never on time. There is no reason for you to be that late everyday.”
- You should not use “always/never”, try to be temperate and as fair as possible
- Replace expressions like “Fed up with” by real reasons and explanations such as “We are waiting for you to start the morning meeting, it is disrespectful for the rest of the team”
In addition to watching your words and picking the right ones, watch your body language, your ton of voice and use a calm voice as often as possible.
Example of a great feedback
“Hi Matt, how are you? I just wanted to give you a little feedback from your work last week. First of all, I really appreciate your work on …. / thank you for …/ you did an amazing job with... Then, I also noticed that you are often late in the morning; is there any particularly reason for that?”
- Maybe Matt has some issues at home or a specific reason. It doesn’t excuse being late but it helps to understand. Once you know the reason, you can decide on a solution together: Matt will make an effort to be on time or you can give him flexibility for a specific reason.
‘The’ feedback technic
The sandwich technic is the most famous feedback-technic. You have to start with something positive like a compliment and then tell about the concern:
1. If the receiver does not feel comfortable or safe he will not listen to you.
2. By praising you stay positive and objective. Your interlocutor also realises that you are not only mentioning the negative, he can see that you are noticing the positive as well. It helps him to be able to listen to what you have to say afterwards.
3. Explain clearly the situation and the specific issue or concern.
4. Use hypothesis and suggestions to provide solutions: “We could have done that this way… what do you think of this idea?”.
5. Because the previous steps can be disruptive for the receiver, it is recommended to comfort and praise him while closing the discussion.
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