How to give feedback without conflict
By Marsha Petrie Sue, MBA
Are you trying to give feedback without ticking off the other person? Is your feedback creating the push back?
Use words that will get attention:
- Ask for permission – “I have something to discuss with you. Is this a good time for you?” or “Do you have a minute for some quick feedback?” This allows the receiver to get ‘mentally’ ready for the input, whether positive or negative.
- Eliminate any emotion and explain what you have observed. Concentrate on using specific examples and avoid being judgments. “I need your help. My goal is to keep the energy up in our office meeting. Yesterday I noticed that you appeared to be upset or withdrawn. Did something happen to cause your reaction?”
- Point out the direct impact that resulted from their action and be as specific as possible. “I need your help. My goal is to keep the energy up in our office meeting. In the future, could you please externalize your internal energy?” or use language such as “it made me feel,” “I noticed that,” or “I think that . . . ,” and using those phrases will keep the feedback session from devolving into a debate.
- Stop talking, pause and ask (or wait) for the other person’s reaction.
- Give them time to think about your concerns and requests. Plus give them time to respond.
- Make this a coaching moment. Suggest concrete next steps or ask them how this situation or behavior should be addressed.
- When appropriate, suggest one or two actionable suggestions for their consideration. This will help establishing a plan to improve.
If you are the recipient of the feedback, ask questions, be specific and find out what they really want for an outcome. Determine what you need to change to be acceptable from their perception. Stay open, watch body language and tone, and paraphrase what they are suggesting happen.
One right and honest definition of business is mutual helpfulness. — William Feather
Please let me know if you are interested in the communication ‘Cheat Sheet’ and I’ll send it to you! Marsha@MarshaPetrieSue.com
Cell 602 418-1991
Professional Speaker, Executive Coach and Best Selling Author
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