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About the art of complimenting, reprimanding and giving feedback.

Have you already told your wife today that you love her?
She knows that! – (Most frequent answer!)

In Germany, we live with an unculture of giving feedback. It is socially accepted here to tell someone flatly what you think of them and their work. Namely, nothing at all! (To put it kindly.) In contrast, I am sometimes looked at askance when I spontaneously tell someone what I like about him or her.

The opposite is the bad habit of immediately rejecting a compliment with the remark that it’s only natural, that it’s only … , or something similar.

In working life, the term feedback has come into use for giving praise and reprimand, and there are some beneficial and correct rules for this. I always mention the following:
1. First, ask if it is okay for you to give feedback to someone now.
2. Start by saying what you like, what you think is great, and what you want to experience again.
3. After that, you bring up what bothers you about the other person, what you would like to have changed in your relationship or his or her work, and where you think he or she still has good chances for development.
You never use the word YOU!
In the reality of our everyday life, however, it can be observed that, as it happens, points one and two are often omitted, and message number 3 is also formulated in clear YOU messages. So there is still a lot of room for learning here.

It is pretty simple! First ask, then say what YOU like, then say what causes YOU problems!

If you want to learn this, follow the rule strictly. Of course, you will find that once you have some routine with it, you will find that you vary and adjust it depending on the situation. But that’s fine as long as you follow the rule in spirit.

What is important to me is that we change our culture of reprimanding into a culture of giving positive feedback. This means that we should express things that are constructively bothering us. The feedback rule helps with this.

I was recently asked what to do when I am the victim of destructive, negative feedback. Do I ask permission even then?
So, if someone is standing on my toes, I don’t dwell on the question, „Are you okay with me giving you feedback now?“
I say loud and clear, „Ow! Get off my foot!“