Here are some tips for giving others feedback:
- Assume positive intention in the other person. Most of the time they do not realize they have done something that has not met our needs. Think of the person as an ally, not an enemy.
- First look at your own piece of the situation to see if there was a lack of communication on your part about exactly what you wanted, what you needed or could do around time, or what skill level you had or expected the giver to have
- Make sure you give feedback at a time the person has space to hear it, Always ask if this is a time you can give them some feedback. If you are receiving feedback, and it is not a good time, it is your responsibility to make a time that does work, within a couple of days at least.
- Watch out for assumptions about the other person's attitude. Try to focus on exactly what they did or said rather than assumptions about their feelings towards you. This is especially important if your feedback is about how the person related to you, and not just about the results of a transaction. Non-Violent Communication (NVC for short) is an excellent tool for this, and we have many skilled practitioners in our community.
And a couple of hints for receiving feedback:
- Make sure this is really a time you have the attention to take feedback, many of us can get defensive when tired or stressed.
- Remember this feedback is not about your worth or your “wrongness”. It is simply about a way you can meet another's needs more completely, now and in the future.
- If you find yourself feeling defensive or having a shame reaction, ask for a moment and take a breath. There is no reason to rush.
- Remember you do not need to completely agree with the other person. You only need to hear them. If you agree with part of what the other person says, try acknowledging the part that seems true to you first, before you mention the part you see differently.