Harvard Business Review



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HBR's 10 Must Reads on Lead...

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On Emotional Intelligence (...

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HBR's 10 Must Reads on Ment...

4.03 avg rating — 763 ratings — published 2017
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HBR's 10 Must Reads on Stra...

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HBR's 10 Must Reads for New...

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The Harvard Business Review...

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HBR's 10 Must Reads on AI, ...

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Harvard Business Review on ...

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Influence and Persuasion (H...

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HBR Guide to Coaching Emplo...

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“It’s tough when markets change and your people within the company don’t.”
Harvard Business Review

“Play Fair You’re sure to elicit a threat response if you provide feedback the other person views as unfair or inaccurate. But how do you avoid that, given how subjective perceptions of fairness and accuracy are? David Bradford of the Stanford Graduate School of Business suggests “staying on our side of the net”—that is, focusing our feedback on our feelings about the behavior and avoiding references to the other person’s motives. We’re in safe territory on our side of the net; others may not like what we say when we describe how we feel, but they can’t dispute its accuracy. However, when we make guesses about their motives, we cross over to their side of the net, and even minor inaccuracies can provoke a defensive reaction. For example, when giving critical feedback to someone who’s habitually late, it’s tempting to say something like, “You don’t value my time, and it’s very disrespectful of you.” But these are guesses about the other person’s state of mind, not statements of fact. If we’re even slightly off base, the employee will feel misunderstood and be less receptive to the feedback. A more effective way to make the same point is to say, “When you’re late, I feel devalued and disrespected.” It’s a subtle distinction, but by focusing on the specific behavior and our internal response—by staying on our side of the net—we avoid making an inaccurate, disputable guess. Because motives are often unclear, we constantly cross the net in an effort to make sense of others’ behavior. While this is inevitable, it’s good practice to notice when we’re guessing someone’s motives and get back on our side of the net before offering feedback.”
Harvard Business Review, HBR Guide to Coaching Employees

“Like Stockdale, resilient people have very sober and down-to-earth views of those parts of reality that matter for survival. That’s not to say that optimism doesn’t have its place: In turning around a demoralized sales force, for instance, conjuring a sense of possibility can be a very powerful tool. But for bigger challenges, a cool, almost pessimistic, sense of reality is far more important.”
Harvard Business Review, HBR's 10 Must Reads on Emotional Intelligence (with featured article "What Makes a Leader?" by Daniel Goleman)



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