How to Communicate Feedback in a Clear and Loving Way
Being able to give and receive feedback in a manner that is productive is critical; feedback is crucial for self-development and growth, and can aid us in fine-tuning our behaviors for enhanced performance. But giving feedback (and receiving it, especially when it’s negative) isn’t always easy. And without effective communication skills in place, attempting to give feedback can turn into an experience that leads to hurt feelings, frustration, and even resentment.
Knowing how to communicate feedback in a clear and loving way is something that all people should learn, and is especially important for those who are responsible for providing feedback to others on a regular basis, such as employers or managers. Here are some tips for giving feedback and negative criticism in a manner that’s both powerful and beneficial–
Recognize that Feedback Can Be Stressful
One of the first steps to learning how to give feedback in a concise and fair way is to recognize that receiving feedback can be stressful; if you can empathize with the person to whom you’re giving feedback, the way you deliver it may change.
An article published in The Harvard Business Review also suggests that you start asking for feedback on a more regular basis from others. Not only will this put you in a position where you experience a myriad of styles for delivering feedback (allowing you to learn which ones work and which don’t), but the process can also leave you feeling happier and less stressed at work.
Perhaps the greatest error in giving feedback, particularly feedback that is negative, is trying to sugarcoat it, beat around the bush, or “sandwich” it in between a lot of other praise, especially if the praise is just filler. Instead, you should be specific in your feedback and direct in your delivery. Specific means giving details about what you expect or what could be improved. An example published in Entrepreneur suggests that instead of saying, “You need to be more talkative in meetings,” you should say, “I want to hear at least one opinion from you per meeting moving forward – you’re smart, and I value what you have to say.”
Develop a Positive Relationship, Never Make it Personal, and Follow the Golden Rule
Feedback will always be received more positively if you and the party to whom you’re delivering the feedback already have a positive relationship in place; this takes time, so be sure you start cultivating positive relationships with employees, co-workers, and others now.
It’s also important to remember that no matter how strong your relationship is with another person, when you’re communicating feedback, you should never make it personal. In fact, you should try to remove the individual from the issue as much as possible; focus on the problem, not on the individual’s characteristics.
Finally, follow the Golden Rule, which is to treat others as you would want to be treated. You can be firm but fair, direct but nice. Before you deliver the feedback, think about how you would want your boss (or other party) to deliver it to you, and lead from there.
Improve Your Communication Skills
To learn more about improved communication skills and the benefits of concise and loving feedback, reach out to success coach and author Sheevaun Moran today for a consultation. Sheevaun is an expert in blending the connection between business and spirit.
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