7 tips for destructive feedback

Feedback is meant to motivate and encourage employees. Read here how to achieve the opposite.

1. Let the feedback bubble burst all of a sudden
Being arbitrary is crucial. Make sure that your employee doesn't have time for an in-depth discussion. That way you won't give him or her any chance to prepare. Witnesses are a subtle addition.

2. Keep your “victim” in the dark about your appreciation
The more the person opposite you has to guess what you think about them during the discussion, the stronger the impact of negative feedback.

3. Use the secret power of negation
Say as often as possible what your feedback isn't. Of course, it's not a form of criticism, not meant to put the person down, and most definitely not an attack.

4. Dominate the situation
Accusations really provoke the other person. That's the best way for the other person to grasp what you're getting at. Whatever you do, don't match the statement to the recipient of the feedback. Generalizations are recommended: “You're always so …!”

5. You're the only one with the right perspective!
The magic of paralyzing feedback comes from you seeing things correctly yourself, whereas the other person does not. That perhaps needs to be subtle in your formulations, but should nevertheless come across clearly.

6. Use praise to intelligently humiliate the other person
Ideally, place the praise right at the start and end of the discussion. That's what's known as the sandwich technique. And it should refer to something irrelevant. For example, you can end with: “But I must once again complement you on …”

7. Act as if you would also accept feedback
“Feel free, of course, to give me some constructive feedback!” “Just act as if I weren't your boss!” That will give you the opportunity to mention even more destructive feedback in between.

Chris Wolf

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