People respond better when you redirect not correct mistakes.

-Create more positive feedback outcomes.

I use Google Maps on my smartphone when I need to drive somewhere I’ve never been. I never worry if I make a mistake or fail to turn where I should. The audio navigation politely reroutes me to where I need to go without a fuss.

Unfortunately, corrections are often experienced as criticism instead of a simple redirection. Imagine how much more productive interactions would be if feedback could be given and received with the perspective of redirection.

Steer things in a better direction.
Redirecting is a communication strategy that guides the conversation and any corrections in a more positive and collaborative direction.

The goal is to guide a person’s thought process to foster an exchange of ideas rather than winning an argument. You encourage someone to think more broadly to arrive at a more accurate understanding of what is incorrect without making them feel defensive or embarrassed.

For example, instead of saying, “You’re wrong; it’s like this,” you can say, “That’s an interesting perspective. Have you also considered this aspect?”

Feedback on behavior.
Redirection acknowledges effort while sharing a specific area for improvement. It maintains a positive discussion environment.

A direct correction is, “You made a mistake in the second part of your presentation. The data you presented was inaccurate, and it confused the audience.”
A redirect is, “I noticed a particular point in the presentation where the data could have been clearer. What are your thoughts on taking a second look and figuring out how we can ensure people fully grasp the key takeaways?”

If you value immediate accuracy, redirecting may seem tedious and time-consuming. Sometimes, a direct correction is necessary for an emergency. If overused, over time, it creates tense environments and less productive relationships.

Redirecting another person’s correction of you.
We’ve all been the recipients of harsh corrections. It’s especially problematic when it’s from a superior. However, each of us is responsible for teaching people how to treat us. Boundaries are our responsibility, no matter what position we are in.

If your boss says harshly: “I don’t know what you were thinking! Your project report was poorly organized and had several errors. This is unacceptable,” you can apologize and skulk away.

Or, you can redirect by calmly saying,” Thank you for your feedback. I understand you’re upset and it’s important to me that we have an open and respectful dialogue. I intended to be more complete but overlooked a few things. I’m committed to doing the best job I can. Could we review what needs to be improved together so this doesn’t happen again?”

It’s worth the extra effort to be a more collaborative communicator. You are more than honest when you redirect the negative into positive action. You are also constructive, helping to create conversations of mutual respect, shared responsibility and collective success. 

When something goes wrong, be like Google Maps navigation. Instead of taking it personally or letting your emotions cloud the issue, offer a simple and polite redirect.

Give everyone a chance to enjoy more harmonious and successful outcomes.

Til next week,
Jo-Aynne Von Born, Leadership/Executive Coach

Work Your Authentic Genius.

  1. What is your typical style of correcting someone, direct correction or redirect?
  2. What are the challenges in redirecting corrections?
  3. How can you overcome them?

2 responses to “People respond better when you redirect not correct mistakes.”

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