3 strategies to give better feedback
Giving criticism in a way that is constructive can be difficult. But providing tough feedback to employees is a requirement of leading an organization, and it will help your employees develop and grow. Remember, mistakes aren't necessarily bad – but it's not learning from them that causes problems.
Executive coach Hanna Hart offers three strategies to better phrase criticism to ensure you're communicating effectively without turning the conversation negative.
- Convert complaints into a request, recommendation or suggestion. Hart notes that most complaints stem from a desire to do something better. By putting a positive spin on a complaint, you'll likely get better responses and develop a thoughtful solution.
- Phrase critiques as questions. "Criticism basically tells the other person that he or she is wrong," Hart writes. Instead of phrasing feedback in a way that feels like an attack, ask questions to understand their thought process. Doing this will elicit more details and could clarify something you had initially misinterpreted.
- Acknowledge the speaker, especially in disagreement. No one wants to feel as though their point of view is being dismissed or doesn't matter. Demonstrating some compassion and understanding – showing you can see where they're coming from or you share some common ground – matters a lot in making an employee feel valued.
The objective of constructive criticism is to help the recipient grow, not feel bad about themselves. That's why leaders should put a little more thought and care into conversations that could potentially be perceived as negative. Effective communication is the foundation of every great leader.
Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger).