Tough Feedback For People Who Get Defensive

articles energy updates Oct 09, 2020

The performance review season proves to be one of the most dreaded times of managers. It is not just about the bulk of work that needs to be done. The fear comes from the sheer exhaustion of dealing with defensive people

Writing reviews and giving feedback takes a lot of time, and it can be particularly anxiety-inducing when you have an emotional person in your team. It's like a challenge that has become tougher over the years. 

How do you deal with people who may cry, yell, or get defensive during the review?

Why Offer Professional Feedback?

The review of a performance does not only aim to improve the overall performance of the company. It is about putting a system in place that will allow every member of the company to contribute to its overall success. 

Learning how to give good feedback should be the priority of every manager. It is about treating each member of the team as a valuable entity in the overall process. More than that, good feedback allows people to improve themselves. 

Every employee needs a voice. Getting and giving feedback is a way for the company to know what their employees think in order to improve working conditions. The key to the company's growth is to create a plan that will help each one grow successfully in their careers. 

When your employees are happy, the company improves its overall performance. Not only are they able to meet their client's expectations, but they can surpass them. 

How Do People React When Given Feedback?

You must be wondering why do people get defensive, but it is the natural reaction whenever they feel threatened. However, how they become defensive is another story. 

Some people get defensive in a way that they become emotional. They learn how to cry their feelings out, and when they are threatened, they cry and get very passionate. 

Others become defensive, and a bit agitated when given feedback on their performance at work. They are the ones that usually provide an excuse for their actions, saying that they did what they did because of their circumstances. 

And then some simply do not show their reaction at all. They calmly take on the advice and hope they can improve their work. 

All these different reactions make people their own person. It is their way of coping with the stress that comes from getting feedback for their professional performance. 

Dealing with each type of reaction is different, and it can be a tedious task. 

Tips On How To Deal With Tough People

How do you deal with tough people? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Tip 1: Always remember why you are doing what you are doing

When things start to get tough, remind yourself of the reason why you are giving feedback. Make sure to remind the employee why you are doing what you are doing. You can take on the more positive path by saying things like, "I need to share this with you because I want you to be successful at what you do." You can say, "I want to see you keep growing."

When you focus on the idea that the feedback is aimed to help them improve and become successful in their field, you and the employee will see things from the same perspective. You remind them how they should be accountable for their actions and how it affects the company's growth. 

Tip 2: Focus and be prepared to do what you need to do

How do you do this? You can by being more self-aware. How do you react when a person becomes dramatic or violent after you have given them your feedback? Always try to avoid confrontations. Make sure to remain calm and reserved

As much as you can, try to prevent any form of conflict. When they get frustrated or answer back, take it as a positive affirmation that they got your message loud and clear. As a leader, you need to walk into the meeting prepared and organized. 

You cannot just wing it and trust your instincts. You will feel better if you have prepared in advance. Ground the observations and assessments with data and other concrete examples. This way, you will be able to show the other person what he really needs to work on. It also says that you have done your job. 

Tip 3: Handle the reaction with grace

When you prepare for the meeting, it will be easier for you to give feedback. In a way, you can also handle their reaction with comfort and ease

If you can prevent negative reactions, then that would be great. As much as you can, respond calmly and effectively even when the emotions begin to rise. 

Tip 4: Focus the discussion on the more positive side

The goal of feedback is not to point out their mistakes. Rather, it is designed to provide an avenue for the person to improve. The emotional reaction is just an addition to what you need to deal with when giving feedback. 

Help the other person focus on the more important aspects of the feedback. Their action and reaction should be geared towards improving themselves and the work that they do. 

Remember to tell them why you are giving the feedback, offer examples they can do to improve themselves and hear them out. Nothing beats the comfort of knowing that your opinions are being heard. 

Why Are Some People Overly Emotional?

Emotional reactions of people are an expression of who they are. Always imagine yourself on the other side of the situation. Is it easy to focus on intentions?

No matter how good they are, it can be challenging to focus on the good when pointing out the bad. However, a good leader is someone who knows how to turn things around. Prepare with integrity and calmly deal with what's on hand.

Growing is not about not being emotional when the situation makes you feel it. Rather, it is about handling your emotions the right way.

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