When constructive feedback is warranted, keep in mind the following tips:
Be specific: Feedback is useful only when the person receiving it knows exactly what needs to change. Generalizing or being indirect can lead to mixed messages.
Convey the effect of the behavior: Sharing your feelings about the effect of the behavior can be powerful in getting that person's attention. For example, say, "When you fail to attend staff meetings, I feel as though you don't want to be part of our team, and we lose the insight and experience you have to offer."
Use "I" statements, and keep them brief, so as not to lecture: Your correspondences should include statements that begin with the following:
- "I feel . . ."
- "I need for you to . . ."
- "What I would rather have is . . ."
Practice this approach at home and with friends to get comfortable being direct and honest, as opposed to fluffing the conversation, i.e.,"It's not a big deal, but if you could just, sort of, try to do a little better, then maybe we could . . ."
—Shelley Cohen, RN, BS, CEN