I Coach Managers

The One Golden Rule to respect when giving Constructive Feedback

As a Manager you often have to give constructive feedback. Regardless of the circumstances, remember that what’s important is how this conversation will benefit the person you’re speaking to.

Keeping this in mind and remembering that the goal isn’t to be done with, as fast as possible, with this unpleasant task, here’s the number one rule (that I so wish I had known when I had to manage a team):

Never try to skip over the emotions that the person is expressing (I know this is often uncomfortable and that you’re not a psychologist) but remember this, as long as the person doesn’t feel that you understand how he or she feels, he or she won’t be able to assimilate what you have to communicate.

If you skip that part, and rush to your requests, the person will leave the conversation thinking: “Well clearly my boss doesn’t understand what I’m going through or what my reality is, and that’s why the expectations are unrealistic. Therefore, I won’t be able to make the requested changes.”

So remember:

  1. always let the employee go to the end of his or her story
  2. repeat, in your own words, what you understood and ask if it’s accurate
  3. taking the expressed facts into consideration, decide together on what the next step will be

Try this the next time you need to meet with one of you team member, and let me know how it went by leaving a comment.

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  1. Francine Beauchamp said:

    Just to mention that I did face similar situations and it is so true that you have to listen to the employee and to take the time to do so.

    Great recommendation…………

    • Micheline said:

      Thank you Francine! Managers are very busy and tend to do everything fast, but for that task you just can’t do fast. You’ll just end up having to do it again.