Giving feedback when there’s a problem

Telling a co-worker that something isn't working: a sometimes perilous exercise which we fear will produce only aggravation of the problem, a conflict, or simply... nothing. One approach to take: transform the reproach into a request!
Briefly state the facts
To observe is neither to analyze nor to blame.
The challenge: to describe in 1 sentence (only 1) the concrete observation that has drawn our attention.
An observation without judgement, nor accusation or complaint (see an example in the following point).
To avoid: offering your opinion on the reasons why things aren't working.       
Avoid the "you are"/"you're not"       
We do not offer feedback on the personality or the character of our co-worker but rather on his work and on his way of performing it.
To avoid therefore: adjectives ("you're not autonomous enough") which we will have difficulty agreeing on.
To employ: the objective description of actions ("you ask several times a day for my approval of...")
We choose to describe rather than to interpret!       
Formulate a clear request
The goal of feedback: to prompt a step towards the amelioration of something which is a problem.
We must therefore ask ourselves what we expect, in order then to express it with precision: "what would make me say, concretely, that there has been initial progress or that that problem has been resolved?" Here again, concrete facts and concision are required, to give us a chance of being heard.       
Each question has only one correct response, but be careful: among the possible responses there is one that is "almost correct" and might make the choice harder!
1 / 3   Your collaborator works slowly
You find that for some time now, John has been working slowly. What do you say to him?
John, for the past few weeks, you're falling behind on your work ...we are all wasting time. Are you going to be able to catch up on the backlog for next week?

A vague remark, and the question is unclear.
John, I would like to discuss with you how we could change your way of working. You need to work quicker. Are you willing to make an effort?
A vague remark: we don't know what it is all about and the request is unclear.
More effort is not an expected result.  

John, I've noticed that for the past three weeks, you are falling behind schedule in several tasks. We will list them together but before that, have you noticed the same thing?   
The remark is precise, factual and without judgment. The question allows John to see where he stands.
I have told you several times that you are not respecting the deadlines and this has consequences on everybody else's work. What do you count on doing?
We are interpreting and judging: there is little chance John will be open to a constructive discussion.  
2 / 3   Presentations too long
Agathe's presentations are too long, she gives too much detail and her interlocutors switch off. As a result, the requested operations are not launched. What do you say to her? 
Agathe, I noticed that your interventions with the support department do not produce the expected results. Your advice is not followed. Do you see the same thing?
Your remark is presented in the form of a statement and observed consequences, without judgment. Your question opens a dialogue. 
Agathe, you are not synthetic enough in your presentations. You need to be more concise.
The criticism is vague ("synthetic" is very subjective) and centered on the person, not on the facts. Agathe will have to defend herself. 
I've heard that there's negative feedback regarding your presentations. What can you do to improve this? 
The approach is meant to be participative but will lead Agathe to defend herself. Using “I feel” rather than “I have heard” would be more appropriate, and the question of solutions is pointless until everyone shares the same opinion.
Agathe, I really appreciate your rigour, your professionalism and I would like you to develop your skills. For this, you will need to work on your communication skills.
Starting with a positive message isn't useful. It would be more relevant in a conclusion. It is better to get straight to the point. 
3 / 3   What are the rules for a constructive criticism?
Which of the following rules is the most essential to be able to formulate a criticism that is likely to be heard?
Use action verbs rather than adjectives.
Yes, adjectives are to be avoided! They are subjective and do not provide anything concrete. "You're too slow" or "you're too quick tempered" are judgments which are likely to close someone up. It is better to discuss what has or what hasn't been achieved.  
Give 1 or 2 concrete examples straight away.
Examples often lead to justification. It is better to first address the problem, and then give examples, when the collaborator asks for them.  
First, question the collaborator so he can explain the problem.
This is a risky approach because the collaborator generally sees what's coming and closes up.It is better to be clear when addressing the problem: "you are not meeting the deadlines" is better than asking "how much time do you think you need for...".  
Start by congratulating the collaborator on something he does well.
This is to be avoided. The collaborator won't be fooled and may get the impression of being duped. Furthermore, the mixture of positive and negative diminishes the importance of the remark. 
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