Lost in Translation

Positive Feeback“You cannot love a person into creativity, although you can avoid their dissatisfaction with the way you treat them” – Frederick Herzberg. Words are powerful. The words you choose and how you say them have the power to build people up or tear them down. Drawing attention to a person’s mistakes is not going to be received well. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t take “constructive criticism” personally. According to Collins Dictionary “construct” means to build while “criticism” means to pass judgement on someone. How can you build someone up while passing judgement on them?

You have a choice to make. You can either dwell on what they’ve done wrong or congratulate them on what they’ve done well – and what they need to do to improve. It can be as simple as replacing the word “but” with “and”. You can either dwell on the fact that they have made a mistake – or you can get past it by accepting the fact that everyone makes mistakes and move on from there. What is – is. What happened – happened. Change your mindset in a positive way by thinking about the mistakes people make as teachable moments. Use the opportunity to praise them for what they’ve done well and teach them what they need to do the next time , so they don’t keep repeating what went wrong.

Creating a teachable moment is an opportunity for both of you to grow. You’ll grow as a teacher and they’ll grow as a person by learning a new skill that will help them perform better in the future. The next time you have an opportunity to create a teachable moment use the sandwich technique. “Sandwich every bit of criticism between two layers of praise” – Mary Kay Ash. It’s a great way to keep your emotions in check and to turn the situation into a positive experience for both of you. You don’t want to change them – you just want to change what went wrong.

Step One: Start the conversation off by saying something positive about them or what they’ve done. Or how they contribute to the overall success of the team, department, organization, etc.. Remember – You are not looking to change them – you just want to change what they are doing that’s not getting the results you are looking for.

Step Two: Let them know the negative impact their actions are having and what problems they are creating. Let them know you are there to help them succeed. Ask some good open-ended questions to drill down and find out why these mistakes are happening. You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge. Get their input on what needs to be done to fix it. Agree on a plan of action. You need to get buy-in so be sure to include their ideas in the plan.

Step Three: Let them know that you are looking forward to working with them. Let them know that you will be following up with them to make sure that the plan you’ve agreed on is getting the desired results. If not – you need to agree on a new plan. People do what you inspect not what you expect. Follow up, follow-up and then follow-up some more. You need to change the habit to change the result.

 Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Looking for a keynote speaker or planning an in-house training session? Brian specializes in soft-skills training and leadership development. Contact Brian today. He will work with you to insure your event is an overwhelming success. To find out what Brian can do for you and your organization visit http://briansmithpld.com

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