This has been created for raising issues in a share house but it can apply to other circumstances of working together. Regular house check-ins have reduce the amount of serious issues that need to be raised. These tips could be handy in other parts of life and I certainly have benefited a lot from them. If by some chance something serious needs to be raised these are some tips but feel free to do it your own way… Power and privilege is always happening in all relationships. It is important to consider this when looking at the below points.

Some pointers on giving negative feedback

The most important part of this process is to work out what part of the issue is your own issue and what part you need to give feedback about. Journaling about your feelings is a good place to start.

  • Be firm, direct, clear and specific as possible
  • Raise one issue at a time (not everything at once)
  • Own your feelings “When you do…… I feel……, because……”
  • Consider looking at NVC… ‘When i notice, see, hear…. I feel…. I need… Would you be willing…’
  • Acknowledge your part in the problem – feelings and actions of yours that get in the way or contribute to the problem
  • Affirm the person when sincerely possible. Think of things you do like or appreciate about them, ways they act in the group or towards you. Do this as close to the beginning of the conversation as possible
  • Leave space for the other person’s feelings. You can also say when you have heard enough
  • Be prepared for their feedback to you
  • Be prepared for them not to agree with you, as sometimes it takes people time to process negative feedback
  • Be clear about what you will and will not negotiate on
  • Practice ahead of time. Find someone you trust to say it too and see if it makes sense
  • Ask for a third person to join you if needed. Someone who the person receiving feedback will feel comfortable with and invite them to bring someone you would feel comfortable with

Since we are opening the floor up for honest communication I thought I’d get prepared for receiving negative feedback myself… here is what I have found.

Some pointers on receiving negative feedback

  • Pause first and try not to react. Focus on your breathing and listen to what they are saying to you. Pause for a moment to process your feelings and the content of the feedback
  • Understand what the person’s concerns are. Some questions you could ask yourself of them is:
    • What are the key issues?
    • Why is the person reacting this way?
    • What happened that affected the person?
  • Evaluate the feedback objectively. Do you agree on the feedback? Is there any truth behind it, and would this be an alternate perspective you missed out originally? Is it something you should look in to?

“What you’re doing might not have been wrong, and your partner might still be hurt. Those two things are not in conflict with each other. If I care about someone and I want them in my life, from my position, it’s worthwhile to invest some caring in letting them see that I still care about them even when what we want is at odds.” reference

  • Sometimes it’s hard to maintain an objective stance, especially since you are right in the middle of this. I found it’s helpful to seek out friends to get alternate opinions. You can ask them what is:
    • Their overall assessment of the feedback
    • What they think are the areas of concern
    • If they saw any truth behind it
  • Someone giving your feedback to you is a gift, as they are willing to put in their energy. This is suggested flow for a reply:
    • Reiterate the concern to the person so it is clear you understood them.
    • Create an open space for discussion
    • Agree on the next steps to move forward.
    • Thank the person for sharing. Giving negative feedback is hard to give (and receive) so thank them for taking the time to be honest with you.
  • Learn from the feedback. There’s always something to learn from every feedback. Ask yourself:
    • What have I learned about myself?
    • What have I learned about others?
    • How can I improve? What can I do differently from now on?
    • What you’re learning can either be about the feedback, how you dealt with the feedback or both.

reference: (Clearness Booklet by New Society Publishers – summarised/altered)