September 5, 2017
Think of the three people whose advice you trust the most. Now think of the times they’ve given you constructive feedback. Odds are that though the message was difficult to hear, you were grateful for and acted upon that feedback because you knew that the other person had your best interests at heart.
Research shows that when we get constructive feedback from people with whom we don’t have a track record of trust and respect, we tend to become defensive and are less likely to act on the message. Before delivering a difficult message to an employee or coworker, keep these three things in mind:
- Giving feedback is not a right. A title isn’t enough – there must be a history of trust and respect before another person can act on unsolicited feedback in a non-defensive way.
- Feedback is different from performance reviews. The most effective feedback is given in the moment. By the time an employee’s annual performance review comes around, he or she should be hearing a summary of feedback received throughout the year.
- Feedback is a gift – but it’s up to the receiver whether to accept it. Feedback is information for another person to consider. It’s not the responsibility of the feedback giver to ensure that the feedback is acted upon.
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