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Convert Your Stress to Positive Expectation Before You Give Feedback

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

OK, you’ve finally decided to have a feedback conversation with someone you’d like to behave differently.

Anxiety in your fear center As you contemplate what’s ahead, you sink into a bad mood and begin to worry about what to say. You feel anxious and a bit of fear or dread arises from your abdomen, where your solar plexus (or “fear center”) is located, as you prepare to deliver the feedback. Suddenly you begin question the costs and benefits of feedback and wonder if you should go to the effort of giving feedback.

But wait. There’s a better option.

Get happy You can stay in a happy mood, motivate your team member, and accelerate results at the same time! Use brain science to navigate your path and avoid the emotional dangers and delays you typically experience on a feedback journey.

To get started on your positive path to feedback, give your brain a  pleasurable  task.  Picture success—one day, one month, and/or one year from now. If you are particularly stressed and have a lot of doubts about the person’s ability or willingness to change, start with a longer timeframe in order to make your vision more plausible to your brain. Envision the team member changing their behavior in just the right ways. See completely new, more positive outcomes.

Imagine Now imagine having coffee or lunch outside the office with this person. What favorable traits does this person sometimes display or what positive qualities could you picture them displaying? What do you appreciate about his work behavior or personal talents, apart from the problem you see?

How could you have a fun engaging conversation if you weren’t thinking of the feedback. As your brain reacts to the more positive view of the team member, relax further and smile in anticipation of your conversation.

Silly? The visioning may seem a bit off task or silly; however, I promise it will make you more, not less, focused. By calming down, you will feel more engaged with your co-worker and you will get clearer on the exact behavior that needs changing.

Sit comfortably and make some notes about what you see in the vision. Make sure you allow plenty of time to vision success before have the feedback conversation. You will soothe your brain with positive emotions as you see wonderful future scenarios unfolding.

You are changing your brain If you bask in the images of what’s possible  for  your  employees,  you’re accomplishing more than improvement of one feedback conversation.  You are  feeling  the  effects  of  brain  chemicals that are far different than those associated with stress. If you’re like other managers who are typically buried in problem solving and management details, you’ve probably been operating in at least a mild state of stress every day. The brain chemistry associated with positive visioning will have both relaxing and energizing effects, and will serve as a nice relief from your other tasks.

There may be exciting surprises in store for this person and others on your team, now that you’re opening up your thinking to breakthrough success.  And hey, you can breathe easily and personally enjoy the rest of your day!

“A concise and effective tool… It provides context, inspiration, and great actionable content.”

— Mark Holzbach, Creative and Tech Community Connector, Co-Founder, Zebra Imaging

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