How to Give Feedback to People Who Aren’t Self-Aware

How do you give feedback to someone on your team who is not self-aware? 

So often, our feedback is judgmental, too general, and over-generalized. It looks something like this: 

 “Yesterday at our meeting, you acted like a jerk. Why do you have to keep interrupting people? We are really tired of you!” 

This approach is obviously not very effective, because it leaves the other person feeling hurt and defensive, and without any tangible behaviors to change. 

Instead, you may want to follow the Situation-Behavior-Impact method of feedback. 

This type of feedback sounds like this: 

In our meeting yesterday, you interrupted Julianna while she was talking and said, ‘this is nonsense,’ before she had a chance to finish. This left me feeling disappointed that I didn’t get to hear her idea, and hesitant to share my ideas in the meeting.

The reason why this type of feedback is more likely to be well received and actually improve self-awareness is because it is not judgmental, i.e., it doesn’t specifically tell the other person that they are wrong.

Moreover, it doesn’t generalize behavior to other situations by claiming that the other person always interrupts others, and doesn’t try to analyze the behavior by questioning whether the other person has any respect for anyone. 

It provides feedback that is specific to the behavior within the context of a particular situation, and it clearly states its impact on the giver. 


Amer Kaissi is the author of the new book “Humbitious: The Power of Low-Ego, High-Drive Leadership

Amer Kaissi
About the author

Amer is a sought-after executive coach, professor, speaker and author. Books he's authored include "Intangibles: The Unexpected Traits of High-Performing Healthcare Leaders" and "Humbitious: The Power of Low-Ego, High-Drive Leadership."
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