How to Give Feedback People Will Listen To

The next time you need to offer feedback or criticism, think about the goal you’re trying to achieve—and then choose the method of feedback that is best suited to that goal.

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Give Effective Feedback by Focusing on the Positive

Constructive criticism can be the bane of the workplace environment. It’s hard to give without putting the receiver on the defensive. (It’s also hard to accept.) That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ever talk about each other’s performance; to not discuss how we’re doing would make for a stagnant environment in which…

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Give Effective Feedback by Focusing on the Positive

Constructive criticism can be the bane of the workplace environment. It’s hard to give without putting the receiver on the defensive. (It’s also hard to accept.) That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ever talk about each other’s performance; to not discuss how we’re doing would make for a stagnant environment in which…

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The Best Time of Day to Give Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism is one of the necessary evils of the workplace: No one likes to give it and certainly no one revels in receiving it, and yet it’s a crucial component of growth in our careers and in life. Beyond being gentle and respectful with each other when we give it, there’s one more important consideration…

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Three Things You Should Always Include When Giving Feedback by Email

Feedback is tough to give, especially over email when you don’t have body language or facial expressions to help you come across the right way. Include these three elements in emailed feedback to focus on the work rather than dwelling on the criticism.

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Use the Word “Yet” to Give More Constructive Negative Feedback Over Email

It’s not always easy to give someone negative feedback, especially when you have to do it over email. If you can’t explain your feedback in person, this one little word can keep it from sounding too harsh.

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Take Constructive Criticism More Easily by Focusing on the “Meat and Potatoes”

No matter how you handle criticism, it is always tough to hear, and even tougher to separate the parts that don’t matter from the feedback you can use. Focus on the “meat and potatoes” to get actionable steps you can work on.

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Turn Negative Feedback Into Actionable Tasks With a Two-Column List

Negative feedback can be hard to take, but if you learn to let go of hurt feelings, you can use it to your advantage. Over at Forbes, executive career coach Tina Nicolai suggests creating a two-column list to turn criticism into actionable tasks.

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Don’t Let Your Professional Shortcomings Hold You Back at Work

The further you get in your career, the harder it is to pinpoint—and then do something about—your personal and professional shortcomings. Why is that? How do you figure out your weak spots and then address them?

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Is Australia’s Ruling Party Laundering Money Through a Sketchy Voter-Tracking Software Company?

Is Australia's Ruling Party Laundering Money Through a Sketchy Voter-Tracking Software Company?Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: AP

On Saturday, Australia will hold its federal election. The current conservative government—a center-right coalition led by the Liberal Party—is narrowly slated to win out, despite the fact that the Liberal Party appears to have laundered taxpayer money through a company the party owns.

Nearly all Liberal members of parliament pay a company, Parakeelia Pty Ltd, $2,500 annually for access to Parakeelia’s voter-monitoring “Feedback” software. The software itself is somewhat controversial—civil-rights advocates have raised concerns about the amount of information it collects and stores on private citizens—but the party’s use of it is standard.

As the Sydney Morning Herald’s James Roberston reported early last month, however, not only is Parakeelia wholly owned by the Labor Party, in recent years it has donated more than $1 million back to the party. From the Herald:

Parakeelia is registered to the same inner-Canberra office building as the Liberals. The company’s directors include the Liberal Party’s federal director, Tony Nutt, and president, Richard Alston. It is registered with authorities as being associated with the party.

Last financial year, Parakeelia transferred $500,000 to the federal Liberal division, making it the party’s second-biggest single source of funds. The year before it came in fourth with $400,000; before that $200,000.

But the Liberals would not say how much of the company’s revenue began as taxpayer funding.

Parakeelia’s annual revenue currently hovers around $1 million, though in 2013-2014, the Liberal Party gave the company a $250,000 cash injection. In 2013, Parakeelia also rented office space in the same building that housed the Liberal Party’s campaign headquarters.

“I can understand why politicians may pay for the software,” John Adam, a former advisor to Liberal MP Arthur Sinodinos, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, “but when you pay to a company, and then that company has surplus money to give back to a political party—I dunno, that seems like money laundering to me. I dunno how else you can call it. I don’t think that’s an appropriate use of taxpayer’s money.”

What’s more, the party has been using taxpayer money to pay parliamentary staffers, who are simultaneously employed by Parakeelia, to train MPs how to use the Feedback software, which they use exclusively for campaigning. “It was a very clear understanding that there’s Feedback training provided to staff members and basically the training is to use it as a database politically rather than to assist constituents,” disendorsed Liberal MP Dennis Jensen told ABC. “Indeed, the instruction given by Feedback trainers is if there’s not a vote in it, don’t do it.”

(The left-wing Labor Party contracts with a similar software company, though that company appears to have no affiliation with the party beyond the business relationship.)

But despite holding 98 percent of Parakeelia’s shares, former Liberal treasurer Ron Walker told the Herald that he wasn’t aware he was still associated with the company. Incumbent prime minister—and former Liberal treasurer—Malcolm Turnbull has deflected questions about Parakeelia to the Liberal Party. In a statement, the party’s federal director, Tony Nutt, acknowledged that Parakeelia is owned by the party.

“It has been in existence for many years during the administrations of various governments,” Nutt said. “It is run on a professional basis, independently audited and complies with the law.” Nutt sits on Parakeelia’s board of directors.

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