Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tricky Business

I hate criticism. It hate to give it. I hate even worse to get it. I want nothing but positive feedback, thank you very much! I actually have people in my life that pretty much give me nothing but positive feedback. When I was supervising people I never did get the evaluation thing down. And I certainly never did get good at asking for what I wanted in my intimate/partnership relationships. I was a doormat until I couldn't stand it any more and then I blew up and attacked. I have noticed that many people (especially men, it seems to me) hear negative criticism when they're asked to do something differently or asked for help. Just the fact that I asked was enough to make sure that he would never, ever do whatever it was. It might have been a control issue or a self-esteem issue or both.

So, imagine my delight in reading about how to give and receive criticism even though I'm not supervising people and am not living in partnership with anyone right now. In the grander scheme of things when I'm looking at priorities, learning to motivate rather than chastise, seems to be a big priority. The latest issue of Real Simple has a good article on how to give and receive "motivation."

First, learn to see feedback/motivation as a good thing - a useful tool. Second, answer these questions: 1) What's working ? 2) What's not working? 3) What can we do together to fix it? Try to give feedback in such a way as to let the person feel appreciated for what's working and optimistic about changes. You could say things like, "I really appreciate...." "It would be great if you could..." "It would mean a lot if you could..."

When you're receiving feedback, ask the questions of the other person so that you're clear about what he/she wants. Listen without disagreeing or arguing. Take notes. Assume the other person has a good point. Maybe you can learn some new skills - maybe it would be fun!

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