People make mistakes all the time, and it’s up to us to correct them whenever we notice them. It’s an awkward situation when you need to correct someone, particularly if that is someone you respect or admire, like a teacher or your boss.
If you do it wrong, you can offend them and make them feel bad about themselves. So how do you politely correct someone and help them improve? Here are some suggestions on how to do this effectively without making the other person feel bad about themselves.
The psychology behind why people feel embarrassed If someone corrects them
People often become defensive when they are corrected and may believe that you're trying to make them feel bad. This is because of the natural human instinct to protect oneself from criticism, which can be intensified in a professional setting where the person is more vulnerable.
There is no one best way to handle correction, but it's important to know the intention behind your words. Professionally correct someone by acknowledging their positive qualities first, which will create a more receptive environment for what needs correcting. It is important not only to deal with difficult behaviors but also with how other people perceive them.
[ Also read: 4 common mistakes that make communication difficult ]
How to prevent getting a negative reaction or guilt trip?
There are a few different ways to deal with difficult behaviors. The best way to do it is by being professional and correcting someone without offending them. You can be direct, but don't come across as aggressive or passive-aggressive. Be clear about what you want from the person, and be specific about what they should change so that their behavior doesn't bother you anymore. Here are some tips on how to stop people from doing things you don't like.
#1. Say the right things
It's important to be professional and correct someone, but it's also important not to make them feel bad about their mistakes. One way you can do this is by phrasing your correction in a way that does not sound like you are correcting the person.
For example, You may want to try X instead of you should try X. In another scenario, if you're having difficulty understanding what the other person is saying or asking, offer clarification. If they still don't understand, just explain why - without making them feel worse than they already do.
Say something like; you're having trouble understanding me because I have an accent. The best way to correct people is to let them know what they did wrong with as few words as possible so that they know how to fix their mistakes in the future.
#2. Avoid being condescending
Dealing with difficult behaviors can be challenging. The best way to correct people is to do it at the moment and not after they have gone and done something wrong. If they are doing something wrong and you want to correct them, be sure you're kind, gentle, and supportive - don't be condescending or mean.
For example, if someone makes a mistake about how to pronounce your last name, try this: I'm sorry but I think my last name is pronounced differently than that. Don't say: You pronounce my last name incorrectly. Don't tell them what's wrong but rather ask for their help.
[ Also read: 6 best things about making a mistake ]
#3. Acknowledge them
It's always hard to know what the right thing to say is when someone has made a mistake, but we all must work together to make this world a better place. It takes courage to be open and honest with one another when mistakes happen. Sometimes just acknowledging them and helping them find a way forward can go a long way. Take responsibility for your actions: You need to take responsibility for your actions and not act as if you are perfect or above making mistakes yourself. If you're speaking in front of others, try to correct yourself as soon as possible rather than waiting for someone else to point out your error.
#4 Assess the situation
It's difficult to correct someone without coming across as an angry know-it-all. First, assess the situation. Is it a minor offense or a major one? For e.g If you're correcting someone for being late to work, it doesn't have to be so serious. You can say something like Hey, it looks like we'll need to change our meeting time. But if they were tardy because they took a break in the middle of their shift and fell asleep on their desk, you might want to follow up with It sounds like your break was too long.
How to not let that affect relationships?
Sometimes we make mistakes. Or, someone else makes a mistake and it impacts us. Whatever the case, you can't fix other people's mistakes for them. It can be really hard to correct someone, especially when you care about them. It's important to be diplomatic, but there are a few things that you can do to make it easier.
Tips to correct someone and also win their respect
- You should never correct someone without also offering them a solution to the problem.
- If you're correcting someone, do it when they're not busy with something and can focus on what you're saying.
- Don't correct people in front of others- this will only embarrass them and make them feel bad about themselves or their work.
- Offer to help that person fix the issue instead of just pointing out how wrong they were.
- You can offer suggestions for how to fix the issue in private if you think that would be more helpful than talking about it publicly.
- Don't take credit for other people's work!
- But remember, if you want your friend or colleague to learn from mistakes, don't hold back criticism even if it's painful for both parties involved.
- Take responsibility for your actions and what has happened as a result of them
- Stay calm and composed when dealing with the person who made the mistake. It will help them be more receptive to listening to you, instead of just shutting down.
The key to correcting someone without making them feel bad is to do it privately and respectfully. You can also use a lighthearted approach by saying something like, I know you wanted this but we need that. Remember, you are the authority in the situation so they will be more likely to take your criticism if you use a respectful tone and constructive feedback.