2 Simple Systems in Giving Constructive Feedback

in #education6 years ago

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Feedback not given in a constructive way will turn into criticism. Your colleague or friends will then, turn their back on you and say "No, you're wrong."

Well, that could be an exaggeration but it's highly probable that your colleagues and friends will be more defensive if your feedback is not delivered in the "positive & constructive" way.

The moment you say "No, you shouldn't be so harsh to that waitress. What you did is wrong!" they will respond with "Why can't I be harsh to them because they forgot my order!?".

They justifed their actions because you told them they are wrong. This is the point of defence.


It's almost an impenetrable great wall of human psyche. Somewhere within us, we want to be right, to look right. Hence, humans have formed a defence system called Justification.

We justify our wrongs.

These 3 simple tricks helps you to penetrate through, if not make a dent through the justification defense mechanism.

A very commonly used feedback is "You are ..."

For example, "You are harsh", "You are bad", "You are rude", "You are stupid".

As you have noticed, all of these feedback share 2 things in common.

  1. They attack the personality itself.
  2. They are opinion-based or judgemental.

Just because your friend scolded the waiter doesn't mean his personality is harsh or rude.

The fact is your friend scolded the waiter.
Your opinion or judgement is he is harsh and rude.

Two Simple Systems

Use these 3 tricks to give feedback without opinion and judgement, without triggering the defensive system and without hurting someone (maybe less hurt).

Trick 1: Situation/Behavior/Impact

Situation: Pinpoint the time and/or location of the feedback event.

  • "At the ..."
  • "In the ..."
  • "During the ..."

Example: "During the meeting with the salesperson earlier today ..."

Behavior: Explain what the person did or said, not what you assumed they were.

  • Be specific, pinpoint a particular action or sentence
  • Give examples
  • Avoid "but" and "however"

Example: You said "No way this can happen. It's impossible! You asked for a ridiculous request."

Impact: Explain the impact of the behavior using phrases like "I felt", "The outcome is ..."

Example: I felt quite embarassed due to what you said just now.

Together they become:
During the meeting with the salesperson earlier today, you said "No way this can happen. It's impossible! You asked for a ridiculous request." I felt quite embarassed due to what you said just now.

Trick 2: Sandwich

The top bread: Compliments and Praises. Be specific as well.

"You did a great job by ..."

"I like it when you ..."

"Well done! You have ..."

The patty: Improvements and the "real" feedback.

"You can improve in ..."

"You can do better by ..."

"I know you can do more by ..."

The bottom bread: Compliment and Praise again, then summarize.

"Overall, you did great! This'll be a good opportunity for you to ..."

"In general, well done! Keep this up!"

"You have improved a lot!"

Focus more on the positives than negatives. They might not even realize you're giving them feedback!

The next time you want to give feedback, use either one! They're more effective than being straight-forward 😉

Small Daily Practices is Tifa's mission to invite you to live an extraordinary life. She is not an expert, not a coach, not certified but learning is constant for her. She shares what she has learned in hope that you live your version of extraordinary life.

You will find her past works on Simple Daily Practices below,
Why did she started this?

RelationshipPersonal MasteryCompassion
"I am grateful for I ..."Check-in With YourselfForgive, Bless and Love Everyone You Meet
Love Out of Choice, Not FeelingAfter Check-In, You Check-Out
What Does Your Daily Schedule Tells You?
When You Feel "Underutilized", What Would You Do?
What If You Can Change Your Past

She invites you to live an extraordinary life, starting from making each day extraordinary. Simple Daily Practices is the key she has discovered.


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