The Challenge of Offering Feedback

By Carla Schrinner02.07.2018

We feel discomfort when giving our co-workers feedback, so we tend to avoid it.

But failure to deal with bad behavior creates a toxic work environment, breaks down teamwork, and gives power where it doesn’t belong.

Consider these steps to carry you through a feedback session and come out feeling good afterward:

Plan ahead. Take a few minutes to write down what happened or what was said. Think about the exact words use, tone of voice, and situation in detail. Share specific words or actions. Then write down how the situation made you or others feel. Sharing the impact of someone’s actions can encourage them to change their behavior and think differently about future situations.

Ask for time. Let your co-worker know you’d like to meet for 10 minutes to discuss a recent situation. Then, find a private spot to talk. Schedule a meeting room or go somewhere you won’t be interrupted.

Be specific. Start with the context for the conversation and use the information you wrote down to get to the point. Don’t beat around the bush or sugarcoat the message. When making your point, avoid judgmental or absolute statements, such as “You always interrupt.” Accusatory statements likely will put the other person on the defensive.

Give them a chance. Give your co-worker a chance to explain, or potentially apologize.

Move on. This person can’t go back and chance what happened—they can only do better next time. Ask for their ideas on how they’d better handle a similar situation and come to agreement on a plan.

Say thank you. Thank your co-worker for listening to your concerns and being open to change. This shows you’re letting go of the issue and are confident in their professionalism.

(via Front Line newsletter)