You know the basics, but here are three subtle ways to give feedback without crushing people’s spirits:
Stop yourself from “over-dumping.” Usually, giving one example of a chronic mistake or behavior is enough to open an employee’s eyes and set him straight. You don’t have to pile on a year’s worth of transgressions.
Give the person a chance to respond. Listen with your whole body, and as openly as you can, even if all you get is excuses. At a minimum, you’ll find out if the employee understands your feedback.
Don’t “suffer in silence.” Nobody gains anything that way. Instead, wait until you’re given a chance to respond, and then explain slowly and thoughtfully, point by point, how you view your employee’s reaction to your feedback, and why. If the employee misunderstands both your directives and your intentions, break them down and gently present them another way.
—Adapted from “The Right—and Wrong—Ways to Give and Receive Feedback,” ClearRock executive coaching firm, www.clearrock.com.
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