Feedback at work must be constructive

It is told by seniors or mentors that if one has nothing good to say, then he must not say anything. But today, we see just the opposite happening. Many people are liberal with their criticism but when it comes to appreciation they are sore in the throat.

In today’s corporate world, perfection is a demand; therefore feedback on one’s performance is critical. And by feedback, it means constructive inputs on one’s work on how it is perceived by others. There is a very thin line between feedback and criticism. Both are opinions and both give one’s perception.

Feedback v/s criticism:

Here is the difference between the two: Feedback is a method by which a boss or appraiser express his/her opinion to the person to help him improvise on his work. On the other hand, criticism can be emotionally charged and expresses dislike rather than opinion.

*Give opinion only when one is asked to: If no one has asked for opinion, and if the matters do not affect the concerned in any way, show appreciation. Don’t walk around the office telling people, this hair style doesn’t suit you or this project is lousy.
* State how things should be: When you are asked for feedback or constructive criticism, find out what’s wrong and then give feedback on how things should be. Don’t just pinpoint mistakes and leave.
*Give ideas: Instead of rejecting some thing, give ideas that will allow a person to explore more options.
*Give suggestions: Whenever you want things changed, give suggestions.
*Point out the good things: Before you say anything that is out of place talk about the things that are in place.
* State your intention for the feedback: Express your interest in the person’s success and the giver of the feed back will win respect for his opinion and knowledge.
* Make feedback objective: Use third person language instead of addressing in second person. Instead of saying, you should not have written with blue ink it is better to say Blue ink can be avoided.

We mentioned above as how to give a constructive feedback there may also be occasions when a feedback may have to be given to the boss which may even require handling an angry Boss. We have some tips for all interested people,

Anger at the workplace, affects morale, reduces productivity and creates an atmosphere of resentment. This is further aggravated when the person hurtling the flames of anger at you is none other than your BOSS.

Very often people in a position of power feel they can easily get away with verbal abuse. In case, the boss has a really short fuse, there are some ways to handle his/her wrath:

* It’s disastrous to be passive, quietly tolerating the barrage of words directed at you Stand for yourself; the meek shall inherit the earth, but that’s not likely to happen in your office.
* Don’t be overly aggressive. Trying to out do each other in the verbal arena is not going to solve anything. In fact it will raise the tempers even further and probably prompt your co-workers to stock up on ear plugs.
* Before confronting your boss on any issue, consider for a moment what you can change in your own behavior. That can mitigate the problem. Deal with things that are in your power first, if you find that you have been slack and your boss’s outburst was justified. Diagnosing the problems within are so much easier and hence avoidable.
* If you find that the problem lies with your boss, then don’t barge in with statements like ‘I think you’re a narcissistic fool’. Take a deep breath and consider what you are going to say and whether it will solve the problem. Remain flexible in your solutions and be ready to compromise and adjust to reach a conclusion that is satisfactory to you and the boss.
* Remain calm at all times: You may need to practice meditation to achieve this but remember that your boss’ angry fire can blaze away only so long as it gets the necessary fuel. Faced by you being calm yet responsive, his anger is bound to deflate and will start conversing with you in a formal manner. But remember, the key here is to be responsive; ignoring an angry boss is like waving a red flag before a bull.
* Above all do not try and solve the matter or confront your boss immediately. One needs to let the embers cool till the end of the day or even the week before broaching a touchy subject. Practice good listening skills to gauge what ignites the boss’ anger. When you drop your ego from the equation it becomes easier to reach a solution. The key to all situations that require interaction between us is communication. With an aggressive boss, one needs to communicate assertively. This will most likely result in a happier work environment.

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