You're at work, and you're communicating with a colleague about a mutual project. You're struggling to give your colleague constructive criticism because you don't want to come across as a jerk, hurt their feelings, or create tension in your relationship. However, your colleague failed to meet the agreed upon deadline, and you pick up the slack to keep the project's deadlines met. You are frustrated, and were unsuccessful in giving them feedback.
Sound familiar? This is a common challenge faced at work, home, and in relationships.
So why do you do this? When you avoid having the constructive chat, your brain gets a reward! It loves keeping you safe & sound. Hence why you instantly feel better after not giving the feedback. But as you know the "feel better" part doesn't last long. You end up feeling drained, and mad at yourself for not saying what needs to be said. And besides- you are tired of staying late to complete your colleagues lack luster work. The way out? Retrain your brain by doing the "scary" chat, and over a period of time you're brain will adapt & reward you with honoring the new behavior.
Our way out: Practing "kind" versus "nice" communication. Kind implies you are giving the feedback because you care about the other person. Kind says you care about yourself, and are able to express yourself authentically. Kind is straight to the point, and doesn't need a lot of filler words nor an apology. Kind is the new cool!
When delivering the information, get to the point. Eliminate filler words, stories, and apologies.
Be clear, and specific. Avoid vague descriptions.
Your tone of voice & posture are neutral. Slow down your delivering; your heart may be raising.
Remember to breathe while speaking.
Allow the other person to respond, and can ask them a few follow up questions to be sure they heard you.
Let them know you are available with any follow up questions.
Be committed to growing, flubbing it up, and trying again. You are learning a new behavior, and it takes a few times to fall before learning how to do this successfully.