If you browse your LinkedIn feed, you’ll likely notice a trend: former employees tell cautionary tales about how they were mistreated by companies that shamed them for minor mistakes or during performance reviews.
Reading posts like this reminds me of my own experience as a junior developer who often felt defeated after receiving negative feedback.
When I founded my company 16 years ago, I promised myself one thing: I would be an ally, not a critic, to my team.
Now more than ever, feedback and career development opportunities are a critical aspect of employee retention during the Great Resignation. Think of it this way: Shame will spread like wildfire through your organization and destroy your culture.
Making sure that feedback is provided in a constructive, positive way can mean the difference between a confident employee and a discouraged one.
Your feedback should inspire confidence
In an article, “The Delicate Art of Giving Feedback,” by Harvard Business Review contributor Robert C. Pozen, he notes that “negative feedback can have significant adverse effects on an employee’s well-being — and presumably their productivity.” .” This is not surprising given that we are set up to be influenced by adverse events, rather than positive ones.
As a young man working for a major Internet media company, I saw several colleagues come back tear-eyed after a performance appraisal. I myself was not immune to criticism from management. I would find it difficult to focus on my tasks afterwards, or start putting off a project. “If you criticize your employees, you probably give some corrective information, but you also put your employee in a bad mood,” Pozen writes.
As a CEO, I know how tempting it can be to offer corrections when mistakes are made. I also know that there is a delicate line between shaming an employee and building it up. My goal is to do the latter. Here are some ways I’ve put this into practice.
Provide general comments (no criticism)
Believe it or not, some of the most insightful lessons I’ve learned have come from my role as a parent. Primarily when it comes to adopting more patience and understanding. When my kids were younger and misbehaving, I made the mistake of berating them—which only led to tears and tantrums. I soon realized that this was not the right approach at all.
I can’t take all the credit for my behavior change — my wife and I read parenting books and podcasts, and together we learned from experts that kids only made me suspicious and embarrassed. Our approach now? We address them at their level and continue talking. We let them know that we are not crazy and that we are trying to understand their perspective.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing your team to your kids. What I am saying is that as a leader I have learned better communication skills from parenthood in all areas of my life.
When I sit with an employee and give feedback, I refrain from criticism and start asking questions. I pass on my honest observations about a situation and make sure to commend them for their efforts. Most of all, I want them to be sure that I’m on their side and that it’s my desire to support them as best I can.
Low self-esteem can determine how an employee sees themselves; for example, they will stop sharing ideas with their teams. And it’s not just criticisms that make someone feel ashamed and frustrated.
When you give feedback, don’t patronize the person – where your comments seem “friendly” at first glance, but really convey your own superiority. For example, by saying, “I know you don’t have much experience in this…† is disrespectful. Even if unintentionally, what you do with comments like this undermines their abilities, effectively demoralizing them.
So, what to do instead? If mistakes were made, talk to them openly about them to better understand them. This may involve brainstorming together about solutions and allowing the employee to express their concerns and opinions.
Remember: the meaning of “ally” means to cooperate, not to dictate.
Four achievements (both large and small)
It sounds like this should go without saying – giving praise where praise is due – but there are a surprising number of leaders and managers who take celebrating achievement for granted. They mistakenly believe that the “win” itself is enough to make an employee feel valued. But they couldn’t be more wrong.
If you don’t practice this consistently – celebrate wins big and small – your employees will take the feedback you give them more seriously.
But if you’ve developed the habit of regularly congratulating employees on their efforts, their creativity, and their ideas, you’ll give them the confidence they need not to be afraid of feedback you might give later.
Aytekin Tank is the founder and CEO of jot shapea leading SaaS solution for online forms.
This post If you evoke this emotion in employees, your feedback could backfire was original published at “https://www.fastcompany.com/90755145/your-constructive-feedback-helps-no-one-if-you-trigger-this-emotional-reaction?partner=rss&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=rss+fastcompany&utm_content=rss”