As a happiness and workplace well-being researcher, I hear these questions all the time: What’s the best way to master difficult conversations? How can we give feedback with a good outcome?
After all, such talks are inevitable, at home and at work. I’ve written a number of articles on the topic; here is a summary of that work, including great advice from my colleague Kim Cameron, author of the highly informative book Positive Leadership:
1. Deliver more positive than negative feedback.
High-performing organizations deliver roughly five times as many positive statements (supportive, appreciative, encouraging) as negative ones (critical, disapproving, contradictory). This is because bad is stronger than good; our brains focus on negative feedback more than positive feedback. (You know this if you’ve ever had one bad conversation ruin your whole day.) Positive communication correlates with much higher worker engagement, our research suggests. You can correct your employees, even criticize or confront them, but you want to do so in a positive context. That is when you will see the best results and maintain morale and engagement.
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