Introduction to Management – Giving Feedback

But What Do I Actually Say?
Giving Effective Feedback
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At work, people are supposed to be busy – setting some effective goals should help to ensure that! So, your staff members are getting on with their jobs – do you think they would like to know how they are getting on? How about providing some feedback? New managers often struggle here – it’s tricky to give the feedback, whilst keeping emotions out. The EECCC model (often referred to as E squared C cubed) will help:

E is for Example

If you’re looking to say the right words in the right way, then start by giving them a specific, factual, evidence-based example of the behaviour under discussion. Remember to separate fact from opinion – talk to them about what they have said or done, not what you think of them because of it! You should be saying ‘I’d like to discuss your timekeeping, as I noticed you came in 10 minutes late this morning’, as opposed to ‘your timekeeping is atrocious’, which is not just an opinion, but also provocative and insulting!

E is for Effect

Having delivered the example of the behaviour, you may encounter ‘so what’ syndrome – ok, so I was 10 minutes late? Who died? If it means that much to you, I’ll stay an extra 10 minutes tonight. It’s not a big deal! It’s great that they’re offering to make up the time, but their behaviour is a concern because you can see the effect it’s having on the team and it needs to stop. Explain this to the employee – because they were late, we nearly missed a deadline. You needed some vital information from them, and they weren’t there. Other team members had to cover for them and they weren’t happy. In addition, other team members have begun to copy their behaviour. This really needs to stop!

C is for Check

The above techniques should help you to gain agreement that they need to get their behaviour back on track, but it’s always good to check that they’re ok with the feedback: ‘So, can you see why I felt the need to discuss this with you?’ They may indulge in a spot of deflection strategy – ‘Ok, so I was late, but other team members do it too! What are you going to do about that?’ Reassure them that the other staff will be spoken to , but this conversation is about them, so let’s get back on track!

C is for Change or Correct

Now we have agreement, ask them what they will do to change or correct the behaviour: ‘I need to know that as of tomorrow morning, you will be at work on time. What will you do to make sure that happens?’ It’s important to get their input here, as they are more likely to buy into their own ideas. If they are really stuck, you could offer some suggestions.

C is for Consequences

You can reinforce your message by reminding them that, if the behaviour does not improve, there may well be consequences: ‘I really need to see improvement here, because if not, I may have to consult HR regarding disciplinary measures. You need to be aware of that.’

 

Conclusion

When discussing key principles of giving feedback, people often ask ‘that’s great, but what do I actually say?’ The EECCC model provides a framework for sentence construction. Give a specific, factual example of the behaviour and the effect you can see that it’s having on the team. Check with them for understanding and agreement, and ask what they will do to change or correct the behaviour. If necessary, remind them of the potential consequences of not correcting it. Now, go and give some feedback!

Ten Tips for Managing Anger and Aggressive Behaviour

At time we are all faced with people who are displaying anger and aggressive behaviour. It can be, at best, uncomfortable and, at worst frightening and potentially dangerous.

In Ten Tips for Managing Anger and Aggressive Behaviour, we’ll look at ten things that can be done when confronted with this type of behaviour to minimise the risks for all those involved.

Managing Anger and Aggressive Behaviour
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Tip One: Be empathic and non-judgemental.

You are only seeing the output of the person displaying these behaviours. It could be that, underneath, what they are dealing with is the most important thing in the world to them.

Remember the iceberg theory. A large percentage of what drives behaviour is hidden. We should never assume we fully understand. Instead we should listen, empathise, be non-judgemental and pay attention.

Tip Two: Respect personal space.

Allowing personal space tends to decrease a person’s anxiety, can help with conflict resolution and de-escalate angry or aggressive behaviours. Try and allow at least half a metre between you and the other person. If you must enter a person’s space to provide care and attention, be sure to explain what you are going to do and why.

Tip Three: Use non-threatening, non-verbal communication.

Be mindful of your gestures, facial expressions, movements and tone of voice. Keeping your tone and body language neutral will go a long way towards defusing the situation.

Tip Four: Avoid overreacting.

Remain calm, rational and professional. Whilst you can’t always control the other person’s behaviour, you can have a direct impact on whether the situation escalates or diffuses. Pay attention to your breathing, tone of voice, body language, choice of words etc.

Tip Five: Focus on feelings.

Evidence and facts are important but it’s how a person feels that is the likely driver behind angry and aggressive behaviour. Watch and listen carefully for the person’s real message. Empathise and ask questions that show you are at least trying to understand.

Tip Six: Ignore challenging questions.

In situations where a person is displaying angry or aggressive behaviour, they might use challenging questions as a way of getting a reaction from you and, thereby, justifying, in some way, their actions. It’s very important to recognise this and avoid where possible.

Ignore the challenge but not the person. Bring their focus back to how you can work together to solve the problem.

Tip Seven: Set limits.

Give the person clear, simple and enforceable limits. Offer concise and respectful choices and point out the consequences of not respecting these. Choose words, tone and body language carefully whilst doing this.

Tip Eight: Choose wisely what you insist upon.

It’s important to be thoughtful in deciding which rules are non- negotiable and which are not. In the workplace you may have some flexibility over which rules always need to be adhered to and which are more guidance based.

Tip Nine: Allow silence for reflection.

The power of silence. Silence can be an extremely effective communication tool. Allowing a person who is displaying angry or aggressive behaviour a period where they can reflect on what is happening can often be enough to help them calm down or at least start to behave a little more rationally.

Tip Ten: Allow time for decisions.

Most of us understand, usually because we’ve learned the hard way, that making decisions during times of heightened emotion usually isn’t the best course of action. When a person is angry, or displaying aggressive behaviour, it’s important to give them time to think more clearly and, therefore, make better decisions about what to do next.

During this post we’ve focused a lot on the importance of body language when faced with a person showing angry or aggressive behaviour. Enjoy this short video which provides more information on the subject.

Further Reading:

An article providing more information on how to recognise the signs of aggressive behaviour in the workplace.