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laniusSabine Lanius worked in the management of an international trade fair company and has been coaching executives since 1998.Sabine Lanius, born in 1965, advises and coaches executives and experts who want to reflect and optimize their leadership and communication behavior. She works for corporations and medium-sized companies as well as for well-known academies. She is also a lecturer at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Her work focuses on job-related topics such as leadership, communication, especially feedback, onboarding / job transition, new placement / career advice. Before becoming self-employed, the business administration graduate gained management experience at an international trade fair company in marketing / sales (b2b) and in renowned consulting firms. More information at www.sabine-lanius.de/

Give feedback constructively: Criticize, but correct!

How to give constructive feedback - without disturbing the other? The first question to be answered is: What do you actually want? To criticize? Give an instruction? Or give feedback?


Guiding principles for feedback recipients

Make it clear whether you are “ready to receive” feedback or not. If not, suggest a different time or place. As difficult as it may be: First listen to the feedback giver and let him finish.

  • Secure your understanding by asking: “What exactly do you mean by x?” This is where the technique of active listening comes into play. You can only react appropriately if you understand what the other person means.
  • Present your view of things. Avoid justifying yourself. No "yes, but ..." sentences
  • Query alternative behavior suggestions. “Which behavior would you find more appropriate?”
  • Close with feedback on feedback. Tell us how you feel about the feedback and how you want to deal with it in the future. “That really surprised me now! I had never seen it that way. Thanks for your feedback! Next time…"

When others rate and judge us

What is the difference between feedback and criticism? In short, the inner attitude. Criticism is characterized by someone evaluating and judging another. There is something objectionable, faulty, or even reproachful about it.

The critic takes for himself to know how something has to be. He is right, the other wrong, because he makes it wrong. The change process is more imposing than the one that he takes the other.

The imposed change process

The instruction has an ordering character. "You do it like this now!" Here, too, it is a forced change process that does not necessarily pick up the other person.

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In the feedback, one meets the other on the same level with respect. Through concrete examples and constructive suggestions for change, a voluntary process of change is carried out, which is supported by insight.

Guiding principles for feedback providers

Of course, you give your feedback promptly while the impressions are still fresh. Do not warm up old camels. But only if you are (again) in a constructive attitude towards the recipient. Depending on the occasion, the good old rule of "sleeping one night over" can be very useful.

Always give concrete feedback

Describe a concrete behavior or event that disturbed you instead of criticizing the person. Provide feedback on behaviors that interfere with collaboration or lead to erroneous work results. But do not attack the human being.

Feedback - good and personal justification

Talk about the impact that behavior has on you personally: "It bothered me!" or justify your feedback well by articulating your fears for possible consequences.

"I'm afraid we will lose the customer if ..." You can break a lot by citing third-party opinions. "And the others say that too!"

Always improve the situation

Suggest behaviors that you think will improve the situation or the results. According to a study by the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, this is one of the success factors for successful feedback.

Not only to say how you do not want it, but also to say what you would like to have and which behavior you would be happy with. This makes the receiver much easier.

Why feedback can fail

Here are a few reasons why feedback may be terrible:

  • The feedback is too indirect. Boss: ”Thomas, I don't think that's so good. The project must run better in the future. You have to optimize your skills! ” Thomas:"???" Do you now know what happened? And what should you specifically change? So feedback has no effect.
  • The feedback is a monologue, not a dialogue. Often, managers talk too much in feedback situations because they are uncomfortable or because they do not want to hear a response, let alone justification. That is understandable, but not very helpful. Because the interlocutor must get the chance to present his view of things. Only then does your feedback have the chance to be implemented.
  • The feedback contains the word “… but”. A big stumbling block for successful feedback is the word "but". “You do this and that really well! And I like you very much ... BUT! This is a conversation killer! You will lose your listener. He will forget everything that came before the word BUT. And always wince in the future if you praise something, because he is waiting for the big end to come.
  • The feedback is built up. Provide continuous feedback, then it is small for all well digestible portions and it does not come to steam cooker explosions.

10 tips: This is how a constructive feedback conversation takes place

As in many areas of life, implementing new knowledge is not easy, but it does Sense to practice the feedback technique, as it enables you to achieve significantly better discussion results and no longer “piss off” colleagues or employees.

  1. Make sure you have a constructive attitude.
  2. Ensure that the call partner can and will be able to record your feedback at this moment.
  3. Enter your feedback step by step to make it understandable.
  4. Ask yourself: What behavior did you perceive?
  5. Check: What effect did that have on you?
  6. Listen to yourself: what kind of feelings does that have in you?
  7. Think about: What thoughts do you have?
  8. Make it clear: what are your wishes and / or suggestions for your future?
  9. The feedback recipient presents his view of things without justifying himself.
  10. New approaches are developed, which in the future guarantee a viable, beneficial cooperation for both.

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6 responses to "Giving constructive feedback: criticizing, but correct!"

  1. Valerie says:

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