Four ways to deal with learners resistant to feedback

by L&D19 Apr 2016
Delivering frank feedback and holding people accountable can be a challenging thing to do, according to Karen Gately, HR and people management specialist, and author of the book, The People Manager’s Toolkit.   
What makes it more difficult is when the people you are dealing with are resistant and closed minded to honest insight, she added.
“Some people simply avoid accountability and are reluctant to take ownership for the quality of outcomes they have achieved,” Gately said. 
According to Gately, you can anticipate those who may choose to pushback and prepare to respond to those you don’t see coming.
Gately offers four different actions to take in response to four different scenarios:
The learner disagrees with your description of their performance 
Provide more accurate or objective observations that include the team member’s experiences, along with other facts the team member may not be keeping in mind. 
The learner agrees, but cites factors that were beyond their control 
Ask them to reflect on the things that were in their control and what they could have done differently. Provide suggestions if necessary. Identify ways you could have helped had they chosen to seek your support. 
The learner agrees, but does not see why it is important. 
Describe the importance of the issue – how it affects them or the team. Expect that they work in line with agreed policies and processes. Invite constructive feedback but enforce agreed standards.
The learner agrees, but says their intention was different
Offer observations on the difference between the person’s intention and the actual results of the behaviour or performance. Remind them that they are accountable for the outcome irrespective of their good will.