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We Know What We Are, But Know Not What We May Be

We Know What We Are, But Know Not What We May Be

This is a world filled with expectations. Every person on the planet expects something from you, and it seems like there’s no pleasing anyone, even ourselves. The fact of the matter is that we are surrounded with this mentality that we SHOULD be doing something other than reading this article. Mentalities like that can be so controlling, so dangerous. Living in a world of expectations is useful in the fact that we can become whatever it is that we want. However, sometimes we get so caught up in the fear of what others want, or what we think they want, that we lose sight of that.

Living in this world, and knowing who we are now can be cathartic. Every once in a while, it’s good to stare into the mirror and take stock of who you are. But if you live in the mentality of living up to expectations, it puts a heavy limitation on yourself. It doesn’t give you the full creative freedom you need to step out of the world’s shadow, and into your own sunshine. You can’t achieve your dream if you’re taking everyone else into consideration.

Sometimes The Generic Life Can Destroy You

The simple life of working 8 hours a day for life, having kids and a house sounds wonderful. It sounds simplistic enough to work in theory. But while some people are okay with just going through the steps, many people have been destroyed by it. You know that life. You go to school, get a degree in a job you can do, get said job, get married, have kids, buy a house, and eventually retire to enjoy your twilight years.

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That sounds amazing, but unfortunately, that’s still a life guide by expectations, by limitations. There’s no room in that process to live your dream life. That’s a generic life that you just follow, not something you aspire. More than that, there’s overwhelming evidence that shows that when you finally escape from that, then you begin to succeed!

Life Isn’t Given To You, You Go Out And Build It

There was a woman once, she followed the exact steps you hope for. While she had a love for writing novels, she was afraid of failure and bought into everyone’s expectations. She went to school, got a job, got married and had a daughter. Unfortunately, she’d been released from her job, and gotten divorced before moving to Edinburgh and was living on government assistance. But she back tracked, wrote a series of novels, and became one of the most well-known authors of her time. Her name is J.K. Rowling!

“You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.” – J.K. Rowling

This man focused his life on living within the norm. He went out and got a job at a fortune 500 company…then absolutely hated it. Within 11 months, he had left his job to find something that he could mess up! From that, he built the group called Live Your Legend. Scott Dinsmore passed away living the life he wanted, and the community built on his dream lives on in his honor!

“It’s about doing something that matters to you, and makes an impact only you can make.” – Scott Dinsmore

This man started out living his life entirely based on his parents’ approval. He was taken out of school to take over the family farm. When it was seen that he was failing at that, he was sent back to school to finish. He then moved onwards to attend Cambridge University and became one of the most prominent scientists in our history! Sir Issac Newton lived that life that only he could, the one that he wanted to! He wasn’t going to let anyone else ruin that for him.

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“We build too many walls, and not enough bridges” – Sir Issac Newton

Only You Can Live Your Life

This world can be vicious, life is tough at the beginning. After that, it gets even more difficult. But you only get this one life, only one shot to do exactly what you want. Think about what you’ve always wanted to do. Think about those limits that you’ve allowed yourself to live by. If you want to go live your life on your own terms, have success in the way that you want, you need to get to work right now.

Barring the moral limits such as theft and violence, you need to take every limitation in your life and completely disregard it. So far, the limitations you’ve set have only gotten you to this point, and you have so much more to do! If you have a dream, why does anyone else have a say in what you should do? You know what you want to do, and you owe it not only to yourself but the world to see it through. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to take a lot of effort, blood, sweat and tears.

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But one day, you’ll look back.You’ll see all those people who put those expectations on you, and the limitations that you set on yourself. You see just how far past all of that you’ve gotten. The world is a dull place at times. It takes your dream, the color you can bring to this world to make that impact that only you can make.

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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

Builds Workers’ Skills

Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

Boosts Employee Loyalty

Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

Strengthens Team Bonds

Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

Promotes Mentorship

There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

1. Listen First

Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

You could say:

  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
  • “What led you to take that step?”
  • “What’s your perspective?”

2. Lead With a Compliment

In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

You could say:

  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

3. Address the Wider Team

Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

You could say:

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  • “Let’s think through this together.”
  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

4. Ask How You Can Help

When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

You could say:

  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can I make your life easier?
  • “Is there something I could do better?”

5. Give Examples

To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

You could say:

  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
  • “This is a perfect example.”
  • “My ideal is . . .”

6. Be Empathetic

Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

You could say:

  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I’m sorry.”

7. Smile

Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

8. Be Grateful

When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

You could say:

  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
  • “I love improving as a team.”

9. Avoid Accusations

Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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You could say:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “I know you did your best.”
  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

10. Take Responsibility

More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

You could say:

  • “I should have . . .”
  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

11. Time it Right

Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

12. Use Their Name

When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

You could say:

  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

13. Suggest, Don’t Order

When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

You could say:

  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
  • “Try it this way.”
  • “Are you on board with that?”

14. Be Brief

Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

15. Follow Up

Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

You could say:

  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
  • “Did that make sense?”

16. Expect Improvement

Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

You could say:

  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

17. Give Second Chances

Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

You could say:

  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
  • “Let’s give it another go.”

Final Thoughts

Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

Reference

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