“Improvement begins with I.”
– Arnold H. Glasow
Start with Trust.
“We are imperfect people, working with imperfect people, in imperfect situations.” – Entreleadership. We’re all humans, and we all make mistakes. Share your motives with the person you are giving the feedback to and make sure they know that it’s in THEIR best interests and not our own interests. Be open about the objective of the conversation and share what the desired outcome is.
Assume Positive Intent.
Most people, most of the time, are sincerely trying to do their best. We need to assume this is true, look for the best in people, and TELL our team members that when we’re giving them feedback.
It’s Not about the Person, It’s about the Action.
Affirm the person and identify the action that needs to change. Constructive criticism is always rooted in the belief in someone’s potential, so be clear about the specific actions that prompted the discussion and need for feedback. If there are multiple issues, focus on one at a time so that the individual has time to reflect, adjust, and improve. If you share too many pieces of feedback, it will overwhelm them and the messages will be lost.
Actively Listen to Understand.
“There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.” – Simon Sinek Ask questions with a genuine desire to see the issue from their perspective. Listen to what the team member is saying and truly try to understand – this doesn’t mean conceding they’re right and you are wrong, but simply understand their point of view.
Seek to Serve.
The best feedback is given in service of the mission, the team, the individual; being of service is to have their best interest in mind. Ask the team member: “How can I help?” Or offer a plan for next steps.