Are you a Conflict Averse Manager?
Organizations incur significant costs when conflicts are avoided or improperly handled.
Working as a Manager requires managing conflicts, disagreements, and differences of opinion. Everyone approaches conflict in a different way, and some individuals instinctively try to avoid or ignore it. Acknowledging your conflict aversion and mindfully working towards giving constructive feedback is the first step. In the past six months, have you heard any of the following statements from yourself?
“I like to give my team members enough chances as well as invest in them so I prefer more time before giving any feedback.”
“I don’t like to give someone advice or tell them they are not doing it right when they are already putting their best into it. I want them to stay motivated.”
“The person is so problematic, contentious, and protective. I hate that kind of conflict.”
If this is the case, you may be purposefully avoiding conflict. That doesn’t mean you should abandon your primary ideals; sustaining relationship harmony is an essential aspect of any work. However, you will need to rethink your perspective on difficult situations. Instead of viewing it as a potential violation of your ideals, consider it as an opportunity to put your values into action. Here are some pointers to give constructive feedback
Address the Why Not The Who
The best perspective that you can have while giving a feedback is to separate the person from the problem. Constructive criticism is all about addressing the “why” rather than the “who” of a certain problem.
Once you have identified the why, consider whether what you want to say will be helpful in the scenario and whether you would want someone to say the same thing to you. If the answer is affirmative, you should only continue.
Always make sure that your feedback is specific, solution-focused, and direct. General remarks, such as “Your work has to be improved” or “I wasn’t very impressed with those reports,” are appropriate if your goal is to provide corrective feedback. Your employee may become perplexed and unsure of what part of their job has to be improved if you tell them, “You have to do better than that”.
Give your staff clear instructions on what to do and advice on how to put the feedback into practice. For instance, “I saw you missed your past two deadlines. To make sure you aren’t taking on too much and are doing each of your chores on time, I’d like to work with you on time management.
Outline the course of action, along with specific examples of the adjustments the person should make to resolve the situation. Ask the employee how they are doing and if they have any views on the matter after giving them some time to process the facts. In short, be clear about what you want to communicate.
Be Truthful and Honest
The core purpose of giving feedback is, to be honest, and genuine to improve a situation or an individual’s/ team’s performance, so it shouldn’t be constructed on exaggerations (be they positive or negative).
Mostly when you’re under pressure, your emotions can override logic, causing you to say things you don’t actually mean. Hence, give some serious thought on how you did like to frame your feedback in a way that appears as honest, genuine. Own up your feedback and make sure it is timed right and given in person.
Being forthright and transparent with corrective feedback lays the groundwork for an authentic conversation, even though it could feel more awkward for the provider. You’ll likely get much more from people when your approach is positive and focused on improvement. As long as your intent is to bring a positive change, there is no reason to shy away from giving feedback.
You may be a peace-loving person, but being an effective manager and a leader, demands you to step out of your comfort zone. Your goal is not to be loved by everyone but also to be respected for being a fair manager. Your role demands you to be agile in sensing brewing issues and calling out the problem in time before it becomes a bigger challenge for you and your organisation.
Work on your communication skills, make sure that your feedback is honest, timely, clear, solution focused, fair and balanced. If done in a respectful manner and the feedback is constructive, more than often it will lead to minimal conflict.
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