Supervisory Leadership

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How do I give constructive criticism to people who work for me?

Talking to people who work for you about their performance is one of the most difficult tasks in the workplace. That's why I wrote a book about it.

When I talk to groups, like the one I'm addressing tomorrow here in Florida, I often tell them that they can make three quick changes to the way they talk about other people's behavior/performance that will dramatically improve the odds of a successful outcome.

First, put the description of behavior you're talking about ahead of the reason why you're having the conversation. That keeps those emotional protective shields from going up and blocking real communication.

Second, describe behavior the Joe Friday way. Just the facts. Drain off the adjectives. Then follow the description of behavior with a brief description of why that behavior matters.

Finally, once you've had your say, shut up. Wait for your subordinate to talk. Then you're on your way to a meaningful discussion of behavior.

This is simple and gets great results. So why don't more of us do it more of the time?

The answer to that one is easy. Old habits are hard to break and just about everyone we emulate did it the other way.


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