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Bus Driver Gets Fired When He Helps A Hungry Student, But He Doesn’t Regret About It

Bus Driver Gets Fired When He Helps A Hungry Student, But He Doesn’t Regret About It

Every now and then we get to read about great humanitarian deeds, where a person has taken action to make a change, to help another person or a community, resulting in being praised by their hometown, their country, and the world. Yet, it isn’t always the case. Sometimes, standing up for someone can cause you to lose your job, as Johnny Cook, a school bus driver from Georgia learned.

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    Taking action

    His action started as an emotional outlet in a form of a Facebook post after hearing from a 6th grader how he couldn’t eat lunch that day because he was 40₵ short on his lunch card, and it turned into a viral movement where people shared stories and took initiatives to provide every child with a meal at school. Because Cook couldn’t let this incident go, as most would unfortunately do, and because he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and show how he felt about it, he was able to make a change.

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      As it usually happens with great deeds like this, it took viral proportions as people started commenting on and sharing the post so as to spread the awareness about the issue. The reason the post got so much reaction is that the people were able to recognize the sentiment behind his decision to speak in the name of each child who ever felt hungry and powerless.

      The reward

      The powerful message Cook sent soon reached the school superintendent who called Cook for a meeting the next day, and requested that driver retracts his statement or leave his job, blaming it on the schools “strict Facebook policy”.

      This was another time Cook decided to act from his heart, and not give in to the materialistic and heartless attitude of the system. He knew, if he retracted the statement, his message would mean nothing and he would be conforming to the silly rules that deny food to children. And that is something he couldn’t do. True, he lost his job, but his heart was in the right place, and that is all that matters.

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      Ana Erkic

      Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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      1 Why Am I So Sad? 9 Possible Causes You Shouldn’t Ignore 2 How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace 3 10 Things That Even You Can Do to Change the World 4 5 Ways to Get Out of a Bad Mood (Backed by Psychology) 5 How a Gratitude Journal Can Drastically Change Your Life

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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.

      More on Constructive Feedback

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

      Reference

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