Tip #936: How to Provide Constructive Feedback

“Criticism should be a casual conversation. W. H. Auden

A win/win problem-solving model for providing constructive feedback is particularly effective for individuals who are uncomfortable expressing conflict, criticism, or anger.

The win/win problem-solving model begins with a supportive statement, which makes it easier to initiate the conversation. Then it establishes a mutual problem-solving dialogue, which is a more comfortable form of communication. Finally, it places the focus on the problem, which directs it away from the individuals involved.

  1. Begin with a supportive or neutral statement that indicates some sincere positive or respectful feeling you have about the person.


  1. Identify the situation or problem as you see it, using I-language. Non-blaming messages that describe tangible effects are more likely to result in the other person trying to resolve the problem.


  1. Make sure that your non-verbal behavior is consistent with your real message.


  1. Ask an open question to get feedback on your statement.


  1. Establish the fact that you appreciate the other person’s thoughts or feelings on the subject. Paraphrase what you believe are the beliefs, points, or concerns of the other person.


  1. Express your feeling, thought, or need.


  1. Ask for feedback.


  1. Indicate that you need help in finding a mutually satisfactory solution.


  1. If the person is willing to work this out with you, move to Step 12. Otherwise, move to Steps 10 and 11.


  1. Ask the other person to identify the consequences if the situation is not resolved in a mutually satisfactory manner.


  1. Ask if the other person is comfortable with those consequences. Hopefully, they’re not.


  1. Suggest constructive alternatives.


  1. Ask for the other person’s ideas. They will be more committed to the solution if they propose it.


  1. Clarify the decision or result of the communication. Clearly state who will do what by when, and why this is important.


  1. Ask the other person to summarize the decision and expected follow-through.


  1. Reaffirm your support statement.


  1. Follow through and follow up.

Constructive feedback is most effective and comfortable for both parties when it begins with a supportive statement, establishes a mutual problem-solving dialogue, and places the focus on the problem, which directs it away from the individuals involved.

May your learning be sweet- and safe.


#winwinproblemsolvingcommunicationmodel #constructivefeedback #communicationformula


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