Providing Negative Feedback

by mark

I am reading here that providing negative feedback isn't always fun. What do you do with people with disabililies, like ADHA? People who take everything negative no matter what you say.

Comments from Lyndsay

Hi Mark,

Great question, thanks. Not having direct experience of working with people with disabilities, I'd approach giving negative feedback carefully and with support and advice from experienced people.

First action would be to understand as fully as possible what the disability is and how much the person's behaviour is governed by this, and what reasonable behaviour expectations might be. I'd do some research on the net, maybe read a book or two or contact a related charity to see if they can provide any guidance.

On a bit of a side-topic, the Macmillan cancer care charity in the UK are launching a training and education package aimed at managers who have staff diagnosed with cancer.

I'd enlist the help of an experienced colleague and talk through the negative behaviour, and figure out the best approach.

There is a story which I'll paraphrase (badly!) The sun and the wind have a competition to see who can make the child take their coat off. The wind blows so hard that the child wraps the coat more tightly around them and stop it blowing away. The sun simply shines warm and bright and the child slips their coat off without a thought.

Your attitude towards giving "negative" feedback can greatly influence what happens. If you are awkward or confrontational, then you are likely to make things worse. If you relax and skilfully deliver the feedback as information and give a clear message of the impact the bad behaviour has, and what acceptable behaviour would look and feel like, then you are upping your odds for a successful discussion.

Hmm, I'm rethinking my lack of experience comment - I've got two children under 5, both of which can be unexploded emotional bombs if you're not careful!

Let me know how you get on,

Kind Regards

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