We've known for decades that one way to build personal and professional relationships is through giving feedback. Not empty compliments about someone's shoes or hair, but meaningful feedback about someone's contributions to a relationship, a household, an organization, a community, or any other entity.
There are two kinds of feedback: positive and constructive, and both are important for your kids, your employees, etc. Some experts recommend the "3-to-1" rule: at least three examples of positive feedback for every incident of constructive feedback.
Giving positive feedback seems like a no-brainer. You say, "Good job!" or "Thanks, that was great!" But consider this: when a manager left the office at the end of the week, she would always say, "Great job this week - thanks everybody!" The staff hated that. The blanket statement to all employees first became meaningless and then irritating.
An alternative is to use the STAR model when giving positive feedback. You tell them that in a particular Situation or Task, the Action that they performed produced a particular Result that you really appreciated/admired/liked. People feel much more appreciated when you specifically thank them for bringing doughnuts in the morning, which really gave everyone a morale boost. Or when you congratulate them on delivering a well-prepared, dynamic presentation that compelled the audience to give their rapt attention. They clearly understand what they did that was great, why it was so great, and that you noticed.
Now: constructive feedback. When you give someone constructive feedback, your goal is for them to take that feedback and use it to successfully change their behavior, right? That's not going to happen if they can't bear to hear a word you're saying because your feedback is coming across as too painful for them to process.
When giving constructive feedback, you could use the STAR/AR model. You tell them that in a particular Situation or Task, the Action that they performed produced an unfortunate Result, but if they had taken an Alternative action, it would have produced a great Result. People are more likely to hear what you're saying when you calmly explain that their missed deadline caused the entire team to fall behind by a day, but if they had told you in advance that they were falling behind, you could have helped them meet their deadline in order to keep the entire project on track.
Giving meaningful feedback involves more than just "Great job!" or "You idiot, what were you thinking??" Try the STAR and STAR/AR models and see if you enjoy better results!
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