The Fine Art of Constructive Feedback

“Do you have a second?”

Those five simple words have sent shivers down the spines of nervous associates everywhere.

What is it about that one sentence that turns a normal day on the job into an introspective fear fest? Historically, it signals one of those scary work meetings. You know, the one where you’re about to hear everything you’ve ever done wrong in the history of your working life.

Maybe, just maybe, your associates shouldn’t be so afraid of those meetings anymore. Especially if you’ve started practicing the fine art of constructive feedback.

In the past, many saw straight-up criticism as an effective way to cower associates into working or behaving in a more productive manner. As time passed, people began to see that shining a light on an associate’s flaws and dismissing their positive contributions wasn’t working so well. The effectiveness of such criticism was increasingly diminished by the fact that those who enjoyed handing it out the most were flawed in the same ways as the associates they managed. They just tried to hide it.

Adopting constructive feedback accentuates the positive while using open and honest dialogue with your associates to develop a plan of action that ultimately leads to steady improvement. As opposed to the opaque nature of criticism, transparency is key. This means that if you struggle with some of the same issues as your associates, own up to those issues and resolve to work together to learn how to overcome them. By being transparent, you’re effectively putting yourself on a team member’s level as opposed to making yourself distant and unreachable.

Trust us – master the art of constructive feedback, and you’ll take a lot of the sting out of those scary work meetings.

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