In today’s world, if you give negative feedback at the wrong time to the wrong person, it can be disastrous. So, this is quickly becoming a soft skill growing in importance. This works in all sorts of relationships, professional or otherwise. So how can you give feedback without it backfiring on you?
Keep it impersonal
Don’t fix on the person, instead focus on the issue you want to offer feedback on. For example, if someone is tardy often and it is something that you wish to address, try this;
Being late can lead to irritation amongst staff and loss of productivity. So, I need you to be in on time from now on.
This is better than;
You are always late; you need to be on time from now on.
Just because you are not making your criticism personal does not mean you can’t be personable. This is important when opening up your feedback. Rather than starting in on the feedback, why not open it up?
Hey, I’ve noticed that you’ve been late the last few days. Is everything ok?
This will give the other person time to explain their situation and there may be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. It may be that there is something they are struggling with in their personal lives or at work. By showing your compassion and sincerity, you will likely not only be able to give constructive feedback but help solve other issues too.
It may be that your criticism may not be warranted. When you are giving your criticism, you need to listen. You may realise that your criticism is not fair or covers a larger issue. Using the above example of tardiness, it may be that your office is too difficult for some workers to reach on time. Therefore, looking at flexible timing can not only increase worker happiness but also productivity.
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