Better Feedback Means Better Productivity and Higher Morale
Engaging in effective communication is one of the most important – and difficult – things for a team to do. Communication becomes particularly difficult when we need to give feedback of an uncomfortable or possibly critical nature to a teammate. The “I Statement” approach will help you give better feedback and get better results.
An I Statement takes the you out of hurt feelings, as in you hurt my feelings. Instead, it helps you describe the behavior that contributed to your feelings getting hurt, and helps you express how you interpreted that behavior and why your feelings were hurt as a result. In other words – someone else did a behavior, and you own your own feelings. Expressing feedback in this way leads to far more productive conversations!
So here is the format of the “I Statement.” The more you use it, the more naturally it will come to you.
What You Say
|When you||(specific action)||Did a specific behavior; i.e., rolled your eyes, cut me off when I was talking, shared my personal information with someone else, etc.|
|I felt||(feeling word or words)||Feeling word; i.e., sad, frustrated, angry, confused, etc.|
|Because I interpreted that to mean||( )||This is when you share what you thought the other person’s intention or meaning was. Our interpretation of others’ actions are also often incorrect or only partially correct|
|Am I interpreting this correctly?||(discuss)||Excellent opportunity for discussion and coming to a new shared understanding.|
|What I would like in the future is:||(ask for what you want)||In some cases it’s important to make agreements about future behaviors. If the situation was truly a misunderstanding though, then it may not be necessary. You’ll know whether or not you need this.|
Giving better feedback is one of the most important things a company can do to improve productivity and morale. Most all of us want to do a good job - in our interpersonal relationships and in our work. We deserve to receive the feedback that will help us accomplish that. Using the I Statement helps everyone become more comfortable giving - and receiving - that important feedback.