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The art of giving constructive feedback!

Anyone who has had to give sensitive feedback to a colleague or employee recognizes that it takes all the gifts of an empathetic communicator and a great deal of tact, especially when problems of a relational or personal nature arise in a work team. In this way, a personality trait, behavior or habit can disturb and disrupt team spirit and the work climate. The good news? No delicate or complex situation is insoluble! Addressing it openly is already part of the solution. Learn the art of giving constructive feedback

Practical tips | Giving constructive feedback :

  • Get ready! Poorly prepared, this meeting could lead to an exchange of hurtful words. Ask yourself how you’d like to be approached if the roles were reversed.
  • Stay objective! Don’t overdramatize the situation, and show empathy without falling into sympathy.
  • Support your feedback with facts and concrete examples of behavior, attitudes and mistakes. Avoid perceptions, hasty judgments and hearsay, and don’t speak on behalf of others (e.g.: I heard that… / your colleagues mentioned that…). This would put the other party on the defensive right from the start of the meeting. Above all, focus on the behavior, not the person. Whenever possible, formulate statements in the “I” rather than the “You” tense (eg. I have to be able to count on…” and not “You always adopt an attitude…”. Protect the other person’s self-esteem!
  • Listen to your interlocutor with interest and attention to understand him or her, not to argue. Let him react and express his opinion, and try to understand the reasons for his behavior.
  • Make your contact aware of the consequences of his or her behavior/attitude on colleagues, the team, customers and even the firm.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of offering “your solution to his problem”. In fact, this solution is not necessarily the right one for him. Empower him instead! What does he propose to rectify the situation and prevent it from happening again? However, it’s a good idea to have a few ideas in mind in case no solution is proposed. The idea is to get the person you’re talking to to resolve the situation themselves, rather than having it imposed on them. This increases your chances of success!
  • As the meeting draws to a close, make sure the message has been conveyed and, above all, understood. Depending on the nature of the feedback and the situation addressed, suggest a follow-up meeting and make yourself available if he or she wishes to discuss the matter further. Conclude the meeting on a positive note.
    Constructive feedback to a colleague: be careful not to play the boss. Your approach must be based on a genuine desire to help him improve.

Three popular practices… to avoid!

  • Avoidance: Letting time go by, thinking that time always makes things better! In addition to keeping the employee in his blind spot and preventing him from evolving, this strategy creates an image of an incompetent and reckless manager in the eyes of other employees.
  • Humiliation: You tell the employee or your colleague “what’s wrong” in front of other colleagues and/or superiors. Put yourself in your interlocutor’s shoes for a moment… Once again, spare your interlocutor’s self-esteem!
  • Persistence: As a manager, you discreetly bring the employee’s colleagues into your office to get more information, details and opinions on the subject, so that you can think things through. If you’ve witnessed the employee’s actions and behaviour, there’s no point in fuelling the situation further and involving his or her colleagues. On the other hand, if the situation is between colleagues, avoid telling everyone! In fact, it will only make the situation worse. The person in question runs the risk of being “labeled” with his or her problem by colleagues, and even more isolated if this was already the case.

The art of giving constructive feedback lies in the preparation! We wish you all the best.

If you’re interested in this type of content, visit our blog in the Wellness, Culture & Commitment section !

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