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Leadership - Giving Feedback With Empathy

Question – How can I get my team to take accept feedback with grace?


Answer – Give it with empathy & emotional intelligence.


Emotional intelligence is your ability to understand emotions (yours & others) and to channel them positively to build strong, meaningful and productive relationships.  


Consider the following facts:


1. Purpose of giving feedback is to drive behaviour  - drive to ‘continue’ (purpose of positive feedback) and drive to ‘change’ (purpose of negative feedback).


2. Feedbacks (both positive and negative) invoke emotions & feelings, which in turn influence and drive the behaviour.


3. Feedbacks are constructive (when they invoke right emotions, driving desirable behaviour) or destructive (when they invoke wrong emotions, driving undesirable behaviour)


Now visualise the following scenarios:


1. Giving positive feedback to someone you don’t like when you are in a bad mood


2. Giving positive feedback to someone you like when you are in an over indulgent mood.  


3. Giving negative feedback to someone you don’t like at all.


4. Giving negative feedback to someone you like a lot.


So if in either of the above cases you don’t manage your emotions well, you’ll either exaggerate your feedback or understate it, making it destructive and defeating the very purpose of giving feedback.    


Hence, the importance of empathy and emotional intelligence in giving feedback


Feedback must always be given in a sensitive manner, respecting the sentiments and feelings of the feedback receiver.


Keep in mind the following:


1. Discuss negative feedback in private (prevents awkwardness & embarrassment) and positive feedback in public (boosts image & self-esteem).  

2. Give negative feedback in a constructive manner (right words, tone and body language) to ensure message delivered is not received with anger, hurt, resentment, etc., but accepted gratefully and on a positive note.


3. Keep positive feedback commensurate with the situation. Over appreciating may be construed as manipulative & under appreciating as being insincere or ungracious. So don’t overdo it, underdo it or make it underserving.  


4. Provide feedback without biases & stereotypes.


5. Plan your feedback rather than sharing it impromptu.


6. Choose the right time & place to give feedback.


Don't give feedback, give feedback with EMPATHY.


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