We do a lot of conversing in life, whether it is through conventional means such as talking or more modern forms that include texting and various social media platforms. The actual form of communication is a lot less relevant than the way we choose to deliver our message. While I would always stress kindness over brutality (that is thinly veiled as honesty), it is the delivery of your words that is mission critical.
We must put people in position to succeed instead of dooming them to fail.
Telling someone they are no good without the hint of a way they can make things better is as counterproductive as it is cruel. You construct the jail, throw people inside the cell and then slam the door shut while destroying the key.
Two Schools of Thought
There are two distinct schools of thought when it comes to giving feedback. The first is the old school method of “Shut up and do what I say!” that was supposed to be effective at keeping people in line, but was actually ineffective at motivating us beyond a limited set of outcomes. The second and more direct approach involves building on strengths instead of picking on weaknesses. It also pinpoints distinct areas of improvement instead of spouting generalizations that do psyche damage and little else. Now, I’m not suggesting that you ignore weaknesses… but, by when you build a person up they have a greater chance at successfully and willingly engaging soft spots with their heightened enthusiasm.
The next time someone hands you a document to edit, or you are giving an opinion that is highly personally or professionally sensitive in nature, try taking the high road instead of being insensitive on the low road.
Mentoring is a preferred method over bullying.
Marking a document up with red pen and then writing , “This needs a lot of work,” without providing specific constructive feedback is a heinous use of power. Instead try, “This is well done. I just had a few minor edits we can go over if that is okay?” Mentoring is a preferred method over bullying.
Your actions should be always be focused on this central theme:
We must put people in a position to succeed instead of dooming them to fail.