The 3 Words That Help Me NOT Sound Like a Total Bitch

My style of correcting friends, family, loved ones, team members, and colleagues used to be a little…

um, shall we say…

not very tactful?

I’m so straight-forward and to the point, I used to always simply provide the feedback I thought needed to be heard, and then I’d go along my way.

“Fix the typos, then send it out.”

“Stop whining so much. It’s really abrasive for everyone.”

“If you’d just take 10 minutes and prepare yourself for client conversations, you wouldn’t feel so disorganized.”

In other words, I’d say: Here’s. What. You. Should. Do. Go. Do. It. Now.

Needless to say, this approach doesn’t take into consideration how others may be feeling, their fears, their experience/relationship with me, etc.

Plus, people start expecting you to tell them how to do things. And they become fearful and resentful.

I USED to think I was clear and direct.

NOW I get that just walking around and correcting people is anything but powerful and effective.

So, here are the 3 words I learned that changed everything for me.

They must be used IN THIS ORDER:


  1. Connection
  2. THEN
  3. Correction.


I learned I must first genuinely CONNECT with the people around me before they’ll be open to and ready for true CORRECTION.

And yes, I said GENUINELY connect. No phoning it in here, otherwise it won’t work.

YOU must feel genuinely connected to the other person before you proceed
to correcting them.

Otherwise this doesn’t work.

Here’s a business example of what this looks like IRL…

Team member takes an action that goes directly against a guiding principle of our company.

“John, you explicitly acted against a core guiding principle of our company, and as you know, that’s simply not acceptable. Never do that again or there will be consequences.”

First, Connect: “John, I saw that you did X yesterday. Even though things didn’t turn out as planned, I really, really appreciate you trying to diffuse the situation and doing what you thought was right. Thank you — that showed courage. Let’s walk through what happened together.”

THEN Correct: “Ah, I get it. So — let’s talk about how we can ensure you keep this core guiding principle in mind next time something like this pops up.”

You don’t need any more instructions than this:

🔥 CONNECT with people before correcting them/giving criticism or feedback. 🔥

Without connection, I am just a dictator.

WITH connection, I am a supporter empowering those around me to grow.

CONNECT with your spouse before you chastise them for not doing something.

CONNECT with your child before you reprimand her for not doing something the way you previously told her to.

CONNECT with your team members before you review their errors and mistakes.

Try being guided by these 3 little words and watch the people around you change for the better as you support and empower them to grow instead of dictating how they should act.


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