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5 Ways to Give Feedback That Inspires People to Grow, Not Shrink

Feedback done wrong is worse than saying nothing

Source | | Angie Morgan

In the best businesses, everyone knows where they stand. Holding someone accountable is strictly between his or her performance and the expected standard. It’s not about you and that person, personally. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to get your team to the point where candor flows freely.

I admit it. Delivering feedback is tough if you’re not used to doing it. And doing it right takes courage and a healthy dose of tact. It’s irresponsible to just let feedback fly without considering its impact. After all, the reason you give feedback is to inspire someone to grow. If you’re doing it for any other reason — maybe because you need to be right or you’ve got an ego to feed — then you’re wrong and definitely not the person to offer constructive criticism.

Here are five keys to delivering feedback in a way that will inspire your people grow, instead of making them shrink out of fear and shame. 

1. Focus on the other person.

To start building the feedback habit, your focus needs to be on the other person and how you can help him or her. What often prevents us from delivering feedback effectively is spending too much time thinking about ourselves and how we feel about delivering it — I just don’t know what to say, or I don’t know how I’m going to get through this conversation. This type of self-focus prevents us from being objective about the situation and getting to a place where we consider the other person and how they feel and how they would like to hear what we have to say. When you can make feedback about the person receiving it, not about the person delivering it, you start understanding how to frame your message in a way that inspires, rather than alienates, the recipient. So rather than start a sentence with, “Let me tell you why you’re wrong,” you might discover that “Hey, let’s discuss what just happened there” will prompt a more productive dialogue. 

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