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Maintaining the Message

Maintaining the Message

Now you know that to successfully give effective feedback you must recount a specific situation, describe the precise behavior, and explain what impact the behavior had on you. But even when you know the proper form, there are pitfalls to avoid when you deliver effective feedback, traps that can detract from your message and weaken the developmental opportunity feedback provides. CCL’s experience in training managers how to give effective feedback has highlighted ten key traps to watch out for.

  1. If you back out of the feedback you give, the receiver will lose your message. “You interrupted me, which made me feel angry, but the more I think about it, it was pretty hectic at the time . . .”

  2. If you pull in your own experiences, you take ownership away from the feedback receiver. “I remember when I did that . . .”

  3. If you pull in your own vulnerability, you presume to know what the receiver is experiencing or thinking. “I used to have the same problem . . .”

  4. If you cushion your feedback, you can put the receiver on the defensive and he or she will be less open to your message. “You’re not going to like hearing this . . .”

  5. If you label your feedback, you can create undue anxiety and the receiver may not hear your entire message. “I have some negative feedback to give you . . .”

  6. If you give advice with your feedback, the receiver may think you have a personal agenda. “Let me tell you what you need to do to have a successful team meeting.”

  7. If you label behavior as a problem, you put the receiver on the defensive and your message may not be heard. “You have a problem getting your expense reports in on time.”

  8. If you don’t use words that precisely communicate your message, or are insensitive to the language that you use, you can cause unnecessary emotional reactions. “You were a real windbag in that meeting this morning.”

  9. If you judge the person, not the behavior, the person hearing your feedback will likely become defensive and resentful. “You were disruptive today.”

  10. If you delay in giving feedback, your memory of the event might not be clear enough to be specific, and the receiver might wonder why the conversation didn’t occur sooner. “Last month when we were attending the regional trade show . . .”


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