Patrick shrugged. “I have tried that sandwich thing where I start with something positive, then criticize the person, then end with something positive. But, my team knows I am making up the positive parts just so I can slide in the criticism. They are smart. They know the game. Sometimes, it just makes the person angrier.”
“Is it necessary for a manager to give a team member negative feedback?” I asked.
“Absolutely. If someone continues to do something wrong, they could develop a bad habit, hard to break. There may be a safety consideration. Even if it just wastes time, the team member needs to know,” Patrick replied.
“So, let’s talk about words. You and I understand the intent of negative feedback, and we have to find the words. Words mean things. I want to change the pronoun. Criticism uses the pronoun you.
- You didn’t do that right.
- If you would do it this way, it would be better.
“To a rebellious child (state of mind), you sounds like a critical parent. Even if it is a statement of fact or said in a nurturing tone of voice, you sounds like a critical parent and invites more rebellion.
“I want to change the pronoun to I.
- I need help with this.
- I am seeing this process a different way.
- I want to speed things up here.
- I would like to change this.
- In what way can we make this better?
“This one simple change invites a different person into the conversation. Do you know why?”