Nobody likes to be wrong. Admitting errors, which I talked about yesterday, is hard enough already. Everyone wants to “save face”. So what happens when you barge in there with your feedback? The person in question will feel offended and your feedback misses its goal.

Your objective is to change behavior. One way to make feedback more effective is to give the other person a way out. A way to keep their appearance. It might feel a little indirect, but it can be just as effective or even more effective than direct feedback.

Example: let’s say you have a colleague who is structurally late for meetings. Try giving a general speech about punctuality. Try zooming in on future behavior instead of what happened.

If it is about feedback, I like a direct approach over this one, but for more sensitive people, this “softer” way of letting them know you would like to see different behavior might be a good way to go. If direct feedback fails, try this one to see if it works better.