Today I was listening again to the "feedback model" podcast, and got something that I seem to have missed previously: how you can use the feedback model during a negotiation (it went something like your counterpart stood and pointed at you and you calmly said "when you point at me and yell, here's what happens: I get deffensive, etc.").

So far so good, very simple.

A situation I often experience, however, is similar but a bit special: There's one girl who's part of the XYZ group and, [b]among other people from other areas[/b], we are part of a meeting in which we negotiate XYZ standards for the plant. During those meetings, she will often display a very aggressive behavior (pointing at, yelling at, or being disrespectful at other people).

I have given her feedback (both before and after I studied MT's model) about it, but she's changed almost nothing.

My question is: is it OK to give her feedback in front of the rest of the group, just in the way it was described in the podcast?? or it only applies to one-to-one situations? What can I do, if her boss considers it is"a trait of her personality" and something that's probably "not that bad"? (yeah, I've been a couple of times to him.) I think she is a very high D, and really don't want her to get defensive and me (another D) being seen as the ruthless guy who put her in a pit in front of all the rest (knowing her, I think she will be able to manipulate the information as to imply that (you know, comments like "why didn't he tell it [i]to me[/i]? Why in front of all the rest?".)

It is said in the army that when you err in public you should be reprimanded in public, but I'm not totally convinced of the convenience of that in standard corporate situations.

I'd love to hear your opinions!

bflynn's picture

It sounds like your issue boils down to "What can I do to correct the bad behavior of someone else's direct?" Unfortunately, the answer is very little. Feedback works because you have the ability to escalate. In situations where you do not have the authority to take it to the next level, you are outside the feedback model. Your choice is to continue with level one feedback.

Before escalating, check that you're talking the other person's language! Are you stating the consequences of their action in terms that they care about or in terms that you care about? This is one of the most difficult things to monitor because it is natural to put things in your terms. This makes feedback ineffective.

As a general rule, there's no problem giving feedback that other people know about. The issues are whether it disrupts the meeting more and how this lady will react to it. If she is a high-D, I recommend not doing it in front of people because she is likely to see this as a challenge to her and she would cut your off more. You want to help her.

My thought process runs like this - get her to listen first. Once you have that, get her to understand the consequences of her action without condemning the action. "I like it when you're aggressive. I'm seeing that its not being as effective as you'd like it to be. When you...." You might almost start with results first. If she recognizes the results, it might be easier to get her to see that the results stem from her actions as opposed to everyone else's incompetence.


trandell's picture

It is not clear if this person is a peer or not from your post, so please read and consider my advice carefully.

If this person is your peer, listen to the podcast "The Peer Feedback Model" for some great advice.

If this person is not your peer and we know she is not your direct, do not give her feedback. Feedback is what you give your directs, not someone elses (including anyone that is a skip report of yours). You are not responsible for her behavior or performance. Her manager is.

Now, you can have a conversation with her manager, if her manager is a peer of yours and relay the incident, but do not deliver that in the feedback model. Again, feedback is for your directs only and in some cases a peer.

The bottom line is her manager is responsible for managing her performance, not you.

frago's picture

I'm of the belief that you can give her feedback and I think you should. I agree with Terrence that the Peer Feedback Model is the one to use (assuming she's your peer) and most importantly...don't do it in public.
That would probably really damage your relationship. Giving her feedback actually opens the door to have a better relationship with her. Don't kill it by giving the feedback during the meeting.
Good luck pavodive.


Mark's picture
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First, the rule is NOT to give feedback in public. DON'T.

But this is an unusual situation.

Here's what I would do:

If the behavior was routine, it was public, and unprofessional, and everybody expected it, and it was talked about after meetings, [b]I would give her feedback in the meeting, in public.[/b]

But only three steps. I'd use step one to get her attention, then 2 and 3, then LEAVE OFF step 4.

Politely, quietly, gently, sitting down, maybe even looking down: "Kelly, can I share something with you?"

"When you stand up, and raise your voice, and point fingers, here's what happens. Others lose respect for you, and think what you're doing is unprofessional, and you hurt your cause in the negotiations, as well as the overall results."

And leave it at that.