How to give feedback to someone being layered

To give feedback effectively to someone being layered, it is advisable to follow a thoughtful and structured approach that takes into account the emotional and psychological impact of the feedback. Here are some steps derived from Ed Batista's insights on delivering critical feedback:

  1. Clarify Your Motivation: Before providing feedback, it's important to understand why you want to give it. Is it to exert control, or is it genuinely to help the individual improve? Ensure that your feedback stems from a desire to assist the colleague in achieving their professional goals rather than a need to impose your own working style or preferences. [6][7][8]

  2. Invest in the Relationship: Build a foundation of trust and demonstrate your positive intentions over time. This helps create a sense of psychological safety, which is crucial when providing feedback that may be perceived as threatening. [2][13][22]

  3. Choose the Right Moment: Timing is key. Allow enough time after the incident so that emotions have settled, but not so much that the details have become hazy. Make sure both you and the recipient are in the right frame of mind for the conversation. [10][11]

  4. Be Specific About Behaviors: Describe the specific behaviors that are causing concern and the effects they have on you or the team. Avoid generalities and focus on observable actions rather than attributing motives or intentions. [1][10]

  5. Express Your Emotions Carefully: Use appropriate feeling-words to express your emotions. This helps capture attention and reduces the likelihood of a defensive response. However, remember that the other party is not obligated to care about your feelings—empathy is not agreement. [11][15]

  6. Reference Their Goals: Show how their behavior is not aligned with their own goals or intentions. This can be a powerful motivator for change, as people have a natural desire to be consistent with their commitments. [16][17][18]

  7. Discuss the Broader Impact: If necessary, and without overwhelming the recipient, share the broader costs of their behavior. This can help them see the wider implications of their actions. [21]

  8. Maintain Psychological Safety: Use the SCARF Model to minimize social threats during the conversation. Address issues of status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness to keep the recipient open to the feedback. [22][23]

  9. Engage in a Dialogue: Feedback should be an ongoing dialogue, not a one-time event. Follow up consistently to make feedback a normal part of organizational life, and not just a feature of performance reviews. [3][4]

  10. Take Responsibility: Acknowledge your own part in the problem. Ask yourself how you may have contributed to the situation and share this with the recipient. This can help balance the conversation and show that you are also willing to change and improve. [12]

By adhering to these principles, you can deliver feedback in a way that is more likely to be received constructively and lead to positive changes, even in the delicate situation of layering someone in an organizational context.