When we receive a compliment, we usually would just brush it off as if we do not really deserve it. Why is that so? If we have earned the compliment, we should acknowledge it while maintaining humility.
And what about constructive feedback? We tend to choose to take it as criticism and to get hurt or offended by it. So, when it comes to giving someone constructive feedback, many find it hard to be transparent and honest. The biggest obstacle is the fear of the consequences, “Will the person treat me differently?” or “Will things become harder?”
Why Bother With Feedback Then?
Because feedback is an important way to establish boundaries for ourselves and to prompt another person to behave in a way that is acceptable. Also, being open to feedback is a part of growing and improving ourselves.
The Beer Method
There is actually a constructive feedback model called BEER. Now hold it guys, it’s just a term. NOTHING associated to the beverage itself.
The BEER Model Feedback consists of Behavior, Effect, Expectation and Result elements.
According to Sheila Singam, (founder and coach, The Human Equation) it is definitely okay to react and give feedback. We cannot be stoic and allow pressure to build up within us because eventually it will affect our mental health.
This case study presented by Sheila was a situation between an employee and her female superior who was always shouting at her and humiliating her in front of other team members and clients.
Determine The Real Person And Positive Intention
When dealing with a person who is highly authoritative and likes bossing you around, try to confront this by separating the behaviour from the person. When the person is not under pressure, what sort of person is he or she?
According to the case study, the respondent found out that her boss was actually very friendly and does things like treating her employees lunch and bringing snacks for tea time when she was not under pressure. However, when things do not go well, that is when she gets all worked up. So, people behave a certain way as it is their coping mechanism.
In this situation, Sheila wants us to consider this metaphor;
“When there is a hurricane, what do you do?”
Have you ever heard about the eye of the storm? It is the calmest weather. So you have to place yourself at the eye of the storm because when you are emotional, you are not rational. The behaviour and the person are two separate things. Behind every behaviour lies a positive intention.
When you face a conflict with a certain someone, ask yourself what could be his or her real positive intentions? For instance, why is your friend mocking or criticising you? To show power or control? Or perhaps she just does not know any other way of managing stress or anger?
Find a way to ease her in fulfilling her real positive intention. Let’s say there is an on-going project. Instead of waiting till the very last minute for submissions, come up with a plan and timeline for the tasks that you are working on. This is to lessen her stress level at the workplace.
Step Outside Of Your Shoes
It is also good to apply the perceptual position method whereby you step outside of your shoes. Go into a neutral position and observe the situation.
It does take courage to give people feedback because you will never know how they would react. Find an elegant way to give feedback and have a true objective of achieving or changing something rather than giving feedback just out of spite.
This is where the BEER method comes in handy. B stands for BEHAVIOUR, so determine the real positive intention of it. E is for EFFECT, where you examine the effects of that behaviour. The next E is EXPECTATION, the expected behaviour. Finally R is the RESULT if you engage in the expected behaviour.
Give Feedback Professionally And Politely
In Sheila’s case study, the respondent had politely given feedback to her boss on how she was behaving towards her:
“Boss, I do understand that we’re working against tight deadlines. And I also understand that there might be lapses in our work or judgment. But when you shout at me in front of my subordinates and clients, it causes them to feel uncomfortable and feel that there’s conflict within our organisation. So when they feel that way, how are they going to entrust us with their businesses?”
After saying that to her boss, her boss apologised and talked to her nicely. They decided to sit together, go through things and resolve them properly without causing discomfort to others.
This proves that exchanging feedback is prominent and it may not only occur in professional settings but is also common in our daily lives. It even happens regularly between friends or family. Always practise polite, honest ways of commenting on someone and remember, B-E-E-R!
By: Suraya Sidek