Make feedback matter with five fundamental steps.

There’s a reason they call it “constructive criticism.” Feedback — in whatever form it takes — can be helpful in terms of individual growth. Sure, it’s tough to receive it. But it can be even tougher to dish out. Bluewolf reports:

Let’s face it: the phrase “I want to give you feedback” in corporate settings is oftentimes perceived as a euphemism for, “I am going to criticize you.” Our brains and bodies spring into fight-or-flight mode when we feel attacked in the face of conflict. Entering discussions in such mindset will likely result in bruised egos and unresolved outcomes.

Don’t send people running from your feedback. Rather, embrace the opportunity to help someone improve with five simple steps. First, start with your approach to the conversation, thinking about the end goal you’d like to achieve with the recipient. Remember to focus on the situational behavior, not the person. Adjust your approach to presenting the problem by focusing on a solution, rather than amplifying the problem. And while we’re on that note, avoid ambiguity, too. Bluewolf elaborates:

Nothing can be more frustrating for a person receiving feedback to hear generalizations about themselves with phrases like, “you always do this” or “you never follow through.”

The person hearing feedback needs specific examples, not generalizations. Lastly, listening can go a long way. Once you’ve provided feedback, you’ve shown a vested interest in that individual’s development. You have a role in seeing it through.

Read the complete list of tips at Bluewolf.