Why You Mustn’t Be Afraid Of Giving Negative Feedback (2)

Why You Mustn’t Be Afraid Of Giving Negative Feedback (2)

November 27, 2010 Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

The second part of this article deals with the general conditions for a feedback meeting.

The conditions can be deduced from the principle that YOU yourself are not able to change anyone.

Honest negative feedback combined with a good preparation is the only way to reach a voluntary agreement and the desired results.

Now there are many mistakes that you can make concerning a feedback meeting

Be sure to avoid at least the following very popular mistakes:

1) Do not wait too long

The feedback meeting should take place as soon as possible after the criticized behaviour occurred.

There just ought to be enough time for you to distance yourself emotionally from the feelings of frustration.

The occurence, the motives and the effects of someone’s behavior are still in mind when you don’t wait tool long with the feedback meeting.

Perhaps they have been already subconsciously perceived by your employee.

The facts that you use to explain your point of view are better understood this way.

For the relationship to your people it would be very bad to collect such incidents in order to use them with a greater effectiveness.

This can destroy the relationship to your employees.

At least  it will incriminate the trust your folks have in you.

2) No prejudices

Go into the conversation without any prejudices. Be honest and respect the opinion of your counterpart.

A feedback meeting will only be perceived as a “real” conversation when you repeatedly ask for motives, thoughts and ideas for further actions. Accept objections.

3) Don’t criticize in public

Criticism itself should be used economical. Criticism in public is an absolute NO-GO.

Public criticism denounces your employees and shows them up. Additionally, public criticism makes a constructive conversation impossible.

Such a public conversation always leads to a behavior of attack and defense.

That’s definitely no good starting point for a change process.

4) Always use solid facts

I mean, I think and I guess are quite bad sentences to start with in a feedback meeting.

It is certainly right to start with an “I” statement. An “I” statement doesn’t accuse someone and it emphasizes the personal view that you want to express.

But the message should be concrete, concise and clear in terms of how you perceived the criticized behavior and what it has affected within you.

Use as many facts as you can to explain your personal impression. This shows that you have dealt intensively with the concrete situation.

Explain exactly what you think the problem is.

5) Plan enough time

In order to emphasize your concern, you need time and rest. Show your counterpart, that the specific situation is worth to take your precious working time. Even if it takes a little longer.

Enough time also allows you to listen and to respond to the objections and needs of your employee sufficently.

Asking many questions sometimes reveals fundamental problems and fears. If you accomplish in eliminating these problems and fears as early as you can, you avoid much bigger problems in the future.

6) Do not forget to clarify the impacts of the behavior

It is essential to explain the negative impacts of your employee’s behavior to the relationship to you, to the organization and to the team he works in.

This is another great way to objectify the subject. Again, you do not criticize your employee personally.

You criticize the negative impacts of a certain behavior.

The message of this list is:

Take your folks seriously and don’t ever attack them personally.

Listen and respond to their fears and needs in order to create an environment of honesty and understanding.

Always keep in mind that a certain behavior can only be changed in many little steps.

But in the end you will be successful.  And that is exactly what holitsic leaders want to achieve: Sustainable success.

In the third part of this article series we will have a look at the concrete implementation of a feedback conversation.

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Posted in Feedback on Nov 27th, 2010, 12:50 by haukeborow