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9 Ways To Give Great And Positive Feedback

9 Ways To Give Great And Positive Feedback
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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 21, 2021

                    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

                    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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                    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

                    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

                    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

                    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

                    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

                    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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                    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

                    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

                    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

                    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

                    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

                    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

                    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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                    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

                    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

                    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

                    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

                    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

                    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

                    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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                    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

                    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

                    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

                    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

                    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

                    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

                    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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                    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

                    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

                    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

                    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

                    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

                    More on Building Habits

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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                    Reference

                    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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