If You Want To Get Into the Excellence Business, Here are Some Examples of Language to Try

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The best managers, supervisors and peers are always interested in helping others excel in order to create excellence. But some sometimes need a little help themselves to do so. The following is adapted from an HBR: Mar/Apr 2019 article, The Feedback Fallacy, and offers some wonderful, practical advice about the kind of language you should try using to encourage, rather than discourage.

Use the following in this format:

INSTEAD OF THIS                  
TRY THIS STATEMENT INSTEAD

Can I give you some feedback?    
Here’s my reaction.

Good job!                   
Here are three things that really worked for me. What was going through your mind when you did them?

Here’s what you should do.    
Here’s what I would do.

Here’s where you need to improve.    
Here’s what worked best for me, and here’s why.

That didn’t really work.    
When you did x, I felt y or I didn’t get that.

You need to improve your communication skills.    
Here’s exactly where you started to lose me.

You need to be more responsive.    
When I don’t hear from you, I worry that we’re not on the same page.

You lack strategic thinking.    
I’m struggling to understand your plan.

You should do x [in response to a request for advice].    
What do you feel you’re struggling with, and what have you done in the past that’s worked in a similar situation?

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