Thinking Twice Before You GeneralizeJan 31, 2023
Generalizations are a tricky thing. They can be helpful in a lot of situations, but when it comes to feedback, they can be a slippery slope. As a manager or leader, you don't want to be too vague with your feedback and generalizations can lead to that. Let's look at why it's important to avoid using generalizations when giving feedback and how we can do that.
Generalizations are statements that are made without any supporting evidence or facts. For example, saying "you always forget to do your job" is an oversimplification of the situation and could potentially lead to hurt feelings among the team member you're giving feedback to. Plus, it's likely not true either! Instead of making such sweeping statements, try focusing on specific actions instead.
For instance, rather than saying "you always forget," shift the conversation by saying something like "I noticed that you forgot XYZ today." This way, you're being more specific while also addressing the issue head-on. It also helps build trust between you and the team member as they won't feel like they're being attacked by generalizations. Additionally, this approach holds people accountable for their actions in a respectful way — something all good leaders should strive for!
It's also important to keep in mind that everyone absorbs information differently when receiving feedback and criticism. Be mindful of the language you use when delivering your message so it doesn't come across as harsh or intimidating. Additionally, provide your team with enough context so they understand why their behavior wasn't acceptable and how they can improve going forward. After all, constructive criticism is meant to help people grow — not tear them down!
If you're looking to improve the way you give feedback at work, avoid making generalizations. Instead, focus on being clear and concise in your conversations. This will help build better relationships with your colleagues and save time in the long run. If you want to learn more about how to communicate effectively, join our bootcamp today!
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