Giving feedback is an important part of daily work life.  Ideally, it's supportive and constructive.  But, when the message isn't clear--or comes across as a personal criticism--it can lead to conflict.

Last month I started working with a team supervisor at an engineering firm.  A group of employees had gone over her head and complained to her boss.  Apparently, their supervisor was being a "bully" and "angry" a lot of the time.  They gave specific examples when her behaviour seemed "overly aggressive", "high-handed" and "confrontational".

She seemed to be "critical of everything".  And she didn't shy away from disciplining employees publicly or during performance reviews.  Team productivity was going downhill.  Some were thinking of quitting.

Her boss was frustrated:  "If things don't change, there's a good chance that she'll be the one who'll be leaving!"

When I first sat down with the supervisor, she got really defensive:  "What's wrong with getting angry!"

No surprise she also was becoming really frustrated --and fearful for her job.

After she calmed down, she was more open to listening--and more open to hearing how her angry behavior was affecting her team and the bottom line.

During our coaching sessions, we talked about the purpose of feedback.  Rather than simply venting, or trying to control or dominate, it's an opportunity.  We can give people important insight and perspective on their behaviours.  And we can help them better understand the impact of their behaviours -- including anger and aggression -- on us, other people and the business.

Check out these 7 tips and 4 steps for giving effective feedback...


©2011 Martha Dove and Associates