Tag Archives: confidence

Factors to Help You Avoid Personalizing Feedback or Criticism- Part I

24 May


Consider your level of confidence as it relates to the particular situation.

If your confidence is low, give yourself permission for making a mistake and make sure you are clear about the specific desired action you need to take from the giver’s perspective.  The more confidence you have in something, the less likely you are to personalize the criticism. 


Likewise, confidence is linked to the number of successful experiences you have had. When you are criticized for something but can draw upon successful experiences to the contrary, it is easier to accept the criticism provided it is quality criticism or the kind of criticism that is meant to be helpful.  The opposite is also true. When you lack a frame of reference to put a criticism in perspective, that criticism can have a bigger impact and hurt you more deeply.

Giving Criticism: Tip #7

7 Nov

Tip:  Avoid using, “we”, and “you” and stay in third person when describing a situation. 

Avoid using “we”, “me”, and “you”.  Not using these words makes the criticism less personal, and helps to ensure that the receiver will listen to the criticism and will take the necessary corrective action.

Let’s take Chris for example. Chris has been working to complete a report for over a month and has had to work long hours and on the weekends. After submitting the report to his boss, Tyler, his boss comes to him and says, “You did not get this report completed according to specifications”. Chris immediately begins to feel like a failure and like he let down the boss.  A better way to word this criticism is, “This report is not completed according to the specifications”.

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Get on the Same Page-Get in Tune with Others

20 Jun

While at work, you get a call from your mate. The call isn’t unusual, but what you are hearing is: Your mate has just been offered a great deal on a new car. Immediately, your mind races as you reply, “You know I hate SUV’s and don’t care for leather seats.”   Your mate responds by saying, “But sweetheart, this is such a great deal. I don’t want to turn this one down. Let’s talk about it later.”  Suddenly, you hear yourself saying “OK” and hanging up the phone.

Your day isn’t over yet. Several days ago, you asked a peer in the sales department to give you some sales projections on a couple of products, and he has failed to get back to you. You’re really feeling pressured, because these numbers are to be incorporated into a larger budget report. He explains that he’s almost finished, and by late afternoon he’ll have everything ready. You say fine, but you think to yourself that his lateness is going to put you under the gun, because you really like to proof things carefully before sending them on to your boss. Afternoon arrives, and he hands you the sales projections. After glancing at the figures, you notice that he gave you projections for one, two, and three years in advance. You feel a tinge of anger run down your spine as you explain that all you needed were figures for a single year in advance. Besides saying he’s sorry, he tells you, “I thought you would have wanted to see some more figures. One year seemed inadequate, and I thought that more numbers would be helpful. If I had known, I could have gotten this to you a lot sooner.”

When you recover from that incident, you decide to check your e-mail messages. To your surprise, you get a short note from your boss with an attachment. You go to the attachment, only to find out that one of your customers contacted your boss directly about a matter that you were in the process of handling. Once again, you feel your stress level rising as you ask yourself, “How could my customer bypass me and go to my boss without telling me?”

What do these three snapshot scenes have in common? On the surface, what’s going on appears to be a communications problem. If we look more deeply, though, it becomes apparent that the expectations of the parties involved in all three situations are unmatched. Unmatched expectations span the spectrum from simple, everyday exchanges to more persistent or extensive matters. We all have expectations for ourselves and for others; expectations exist in our relationships at work as well as in our relationships with family and friends. Strong relationships are always rooted in matched expectations.

Big or small, important or insignificant, whenever expectations are unmatched, frustration levels rise and desired outcomes are put at risk. Being able to “move” forward is difficult. So what’s needed first is to listen for and pay attention to expectations that are matched.

Even though you cannot have total control, you can pay attention to and watch for expectations that are matched- prior to taking what happens around you.

Building Confidence

3 Apr

To a great extent, each of us needs to be responsible for building our own confidence, but as leaders we can often instill confidence in others. It’s an ongoing process. As a leader, you can enhance confidence building in others by incorporating the following practices into your daily routine.

1.     Provide experiences to learn from – Building confidence stems from providing employees with experiences that they can learn from and deal with successfully. When dealing with less experienced employees, you need to review tasks in greater detail and, when possible, break them down into specific activities before delegating them. Setting up the proper learning experience is the leader’s responsibility.

2.     Provide honest feedback –Giving positive feedback exclusively is dangerous – it can cause inflated egos and is unrealistic. No feedback is just as bad; employees don’t know where they stand. Honest feedback is when a leader is willing to be transparent and has no fear of giving credit where credit is due. Likewise, the leader is willing to point out the negative or deliver criticism. Delivering criticism or negative feedback is where most leaders have difficulty, primarily because they lack any formal training in the area. One thing is for sure – delivering criticism or negative feedback effectively cannot be done by the seat of your pants, nor can leaders rely strictly on common sense. Delivering criticism or negative feedback so that it results in improved performance and strengthens relationships is a skill, just like hitting a ball in golf is a skill. Both have to be learned and practiced. Honest feedback entails presenting candidly how a leader perceives a particular situation or a person’s actions. When a leader communicates honestly, there is no need to waste time second guessing what is being conveyed. It also begins to lay the foundation of trust in the leader’s relationships. People trust people who use praise and criticism effectively.

3.     Communicate the results of the effort – One way to build confidence in others that is frequently overlooked is communicating how someone’s actions positively or negatively affected the outcome of an effort. Rarely do we, as leaders, have the time to get back to our employees to let them know the outcome of their efforts, yet this is one of the most significant confidence builders available to leaders.

Understanding Confidence

2 Apr

Confidence is the belief in one’s ability to achieve a particular outcome or goal or, put more simply, confidence has to do with self-assurance.

Where does personal confidence come from? Here are three underlying factors I’ve uncovered that build personal confidence:

1.     Knowledge and Experience – The more we know about something, the more confident we feel. As an example, think back to the first time you got into a car to drive it. You were most likely unsure of yourself. However, after a period of time, and with some experience, driving became second nature even to the point where you became comfortable working with a GPS system or waving to a friend while competently negotiating through the traffic in front of you.

2.     Successes – Acquiring a lot of knowledge and having a number of experiences with “no successes” rarely leads to building confidence. It’s necessary to have some successes along the way.

3.     Control –Knowing exactly what we do that contributed to a success and knowing how to repeat that success is what control is all about. Control awareness occurs when a person has personally and successfully completed a task and can directly attribute the success to his or her own efforts.  When reflecting on these three underlying factors, an exciting conclusion emerges which is that we have a lot of control over building our own personal confidence.

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