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9 Ways To Give Great And Positive Feedback

9 Ways To Give Great And Positive Feedback

No matter what level you’re at in a company, you’re inevitably going to need to provide feedback sooner or later. Whether it’s your boss, coworkers, or subordinates, someone’s going to slack or make a mistake. When that time comes, you can give feedback confidently with these nine tips.

1. Provide Warning

    No matter how good your intentions, some people just don’t respond well to criticism. Be mindful of this. It’s always best to ask prior to providing feedback. This will mentally prepare the other person for any criticism they’re about to receive. Take them aside to avoid embarrassing them in front of other people, which will immediately put them on the defensive.

    2. Be Timely

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      If you’ve ever housebroken a pet, you’re aware feedback has to be provided immediately. If you wait too long to explain to someone they’re doing something wrong, you’ll be fighting a habit rather than a mistake. Habits are hard to break, so don’t delay in correcting unproductive behaviors.

      3. Focus on Processes

        Never point out flaws in a person – this will be taken as a personal attack. The reason people believe in concepts like luck and fate is because they have trouble internalizing mistakes. You’re not about to change this, no matter how much of a people person you think you are. Instead, point out a flawed process they’re following. This allows them the out of not knowing the correct procedure and making a change.

        4. Be Straightforward

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          Don’t dance around a subject. People prefer a direct criticism (“Your breath stinks.”) over a veiled one (“Have you tried this new gum?”). You may think you’re being polite, but you’re just making things worse. Don’t waste people’s time beating around the bush; come out and say specifically what was done wrong.

          5. Explain the Why

            Don’t just tell someone to start doing something another way – that won’t stick. Explain to them how their incorrect procedure affects the full process. Let them know why they need to change what they’re doing. Hearing that auditors are looking for certain things or that more money can be made by doing things a certain way makes more of an impact than just telling them “because I said so.”

            6. Suggest Alternatives

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              There’s always more than one way to do things. Don’t just tell someone the way they’re doing things won’t work – give them options for different ways that will work. Find a compromise between what they’re doing and what you want them to do. It helps to prepare what you want to say in advance so you don’t find yourself stuck.

              7. Be Gracious

                Always focus on the positives. For every negative point you have to cover with the person, counter it by mentioning something positive. Just make sure you keep a 1:1 ratio or you run the risk of your actual criticism being lost. People only remember at most 70% of what they hear, so balancing the positive and negative is essential to ensure you get your point across without sugarcoating it or being mean.

                8. Avoid Shaming or Threatening

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                  The more you rule with an iron fist, the more likely people are to rebel. Look at the world around you: oppressed people always rise against their rulers, and those dictators have weapons. If you’re working in a cubicle, you’re certainly not going to scare anyone. Instead you’ll likely end up in trouble yourself. Treat people with respect, and they’ll respect you back. Treat them like they’re beneath you, and they’ll either leave or work against you.

                  9. Solicit Feedback

                    Feedback is a two-way street. When giving feedback, encourage feedback on how you’re doing. You may learn something new about yourself, or you may learn the person’s true feelings. By encouraging open communication, you’re leaving room for everyone to improve, which is great for business in the long run.

                    Featured photo credit: DT via pixabay.com

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                    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

                    How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

                    How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

                    What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

                    When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

                    In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

                    While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

                    As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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                      Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

                      Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

                      The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

                      But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

                      However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

                      This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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                      Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

                      We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

                      Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

                      Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

                      The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

                      When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

                      When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

                      How to Make Decision Effectively

                      Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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                      1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

                      You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

                      Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

                      Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

                      2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

                      You don’t have to choose all the time.

                      Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

                      Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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                      3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

                      You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

                      The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

                      Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

                      Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

                      So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

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                      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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