Change is the only constant thing. You must have heard this a lot of times. But, did you know that in order to bring a positive change around you, you need to develop the habit of giving constructive feedback?
Now, giving constructive feedback, that is free from judgment, ridicule and discontent is an art. And, you must master it, if you want to succeed in the corporate world.
There are a lot of ways that can help you be an effective communicator. Giving constructive feedback is one such way. But, how can you do that? What do you need to remember when it comes to giving feedback? And, most importantly, what does it take to give feedback that works?
Here’s what a leader must do to give feedback that helps in achieving the desired outcomes!
While giving constructive feedback doesn’t mean you should alter the truth, yet it is important to have positivity in the tone. When you tell a person what went wrong, you shouldn’t be completely negative. By staying positive, you make the recipient open to take criticism. Also, remember to keep the person and the situation separate. Focus on the situation. Not on the person. Feedback is a powerful tool. Use it wisely.
“It makes a big difference in your life when you stay positive.” – Ellen DeGeneres.
Never assume things
If you have a habit of making assumptions, then you must control it. Only give feedback on things that you know for sure. You shouldn’t give feedback imagining what would have gone wrong. You need to give feedback only when you know what went wrong. When you make assumptions, you increase your chances of giving ineffective feedback, mainly because assumptions can go wide of the mark at times. Avoid having a presumptuous attitude. Assuming things and making judgments based on your assumptions could prove to be dangerous. With a conceited attitude, you may lose more than what you think.
“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” ― Abraham H. Maslow
Don’t beat about the bush
Feedback can only work when it is clear and relevant. Talking of things that happened in the past, or focusing on issues that have no relevance to the current situation is a big no. Rather than giving vague statements, you need to be clear and to-the-point. Being specific is one of the key elements of giving constructive feedback that leads to right results.
“A lack of clarity could put the brakes on any journey to success.” ― Steve Maraboli
Effective feedback requires promptness
Giving feedback is important. But, giving prompt feedback is all the more important. If you think you need to talk to a sales rep about the drop in the sales that took place four months ago, then bury that thought. Focus on the current situation. Talk about what’s happening now. If you really want to give feedback that works, then give it before it gets too late.
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” ― Zig Ziglar
Be assertive, not rude
Stating your thoughts clearly is important. But, that doesn’t give you the right to humiliate the recipient. Don’t be rude while giving feedback. You might lose all respect. And, the feedback might not work at all. Try and be assertive. Be empathetic and understand the entire situation, rather than giving a tongue-lashing to your subordinates. Remember that people have a habit of becoming what you encourage them to be, not what you nag them to be.
“Some people hate people who are overconfident, only because their overconfidence reminds them of their underconfidence.” ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana
Feedback without a proper solution is nothing but words. While giving feedback to someone, ensure that you list the ways for improvement, or offer possible solutions to the problem in hand. When you tell a person the ways to improve, you help them be better than before. You end up making a change not only in the situation but also in the recipient’s life. And, that change could be all that they need to make it big. So, let the recipient know what is expected, and how it can be achieved. Set a clear direction and let them work towards the goal.
“Sometimes problems don’t require a solution to solve them; instead they require maturity to outgrow them.” – Steve Maraboli
As they say, “Feedback is the breakfast of the champions”. Learn the art of giving constructive feedback and bring a greater change around you. Also, be open to receiving feedback. As much as you like giving feedback, make sure that you like receiving feedback too. Because continuous improvement calls for it. That’s how leaders are made. And, that’s how big organizations are built.
Observe. Improve. Invent.
There could be nothing better than this.
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