Feedback Needs to Be Kind

Frequent feedback needs to be kind. Kindness is reflected in the words you use, your tone of voice, your body language, timing, and place.  We must always remain respectful.   Imagine how you would want someone to tell you how to improve.  Everyone deserves respect and kindness.   Think about what you want to say ahead of time. Use facts and not labels.  Spell out the problem without emotion, objectively. The tone of our voice needs to be caring and supportive for helpful feedback.  Are we really trying to help the person? Ask questions and let them say what’s going on for them. Listen carefully.  For example:  “When answering the phone, I noticed that you only said your name.  If you could please state the following with a smile:  “Hello!  Thank you for calling ABC company. This is Lisa.  How can I help you?”  We really want our customers to feel welcomed and to know who they are talking to when they call.  Do you think you can do this?”

Watch your body language.  Be open with your posture.  Kindness is being concerned about people and understanding and caring what’s going on for them.  Timing is critical for kindness.  It’s probably not a good idea to deliver a big piece of criticism to someone the day before their dream vacation.  It’s also disrespectful to give constructive feedback in front of others unless it’s meant for all the people.  And NEVER give helpful feedback to people who don’t need it.  For example, Steve has not been showing up on time to work and the rest of the team has been on time so let’s have a meeting to tell everyone to show up on time to work.  This is demotivating to the people who do not have a tardiness issue.   Meet with Steve in private and give him the days and times he has been late.  Also, ask him what is causing him to be late and if appropriate, help him solve the problem.  Set the expectations ahead of time.  Always ask yourself, “Are my intentions good and have I told them everything that they are doing well as well as everything they need to improve?  Did I give good examples so they know specifically what to keep doing and what to change?”


R. Schroyer