How to Correct Someone Without Killing their Spirit
A Simple Guide on The Okay / Not Okay Method
Have you ever been in a conversation where you were so excited about something, but someone totally killed your dreams? Or whether you were doing something so right but made one mistake and that one mistake is all someone talked about?
I’ve been in many conversations like that and let me tell you–it isn’t fun. It deposits discouragement in us. And makes us feel crummy and not want to try again.
In the journey of helping people walk in their fullness of who God made them to be, everyone will have to give correction. It’s a great thing!
Learning to correct in a way that doesn’t crush someone’s spirit is a skill that is not very common. If you’re anything like me, you’ve encountered leaders that just butcher it.
How do you give correction in a way that both
helps people to see ways they need to grow
but also encourage them?
Let me share a simple but powerful method called the Okay Not Okay Method.
The Okay / Not Okay Method
This method has changed the way I correct my kids. It has enabled me to give them parental guidance while simultaneously give them courage.
Here’s a real example:
Many times my kids have incorrect behavior. For instance, my oldest kid will take someone from the younger kid. The younger kid will get really upset, may retaliate and hit. Both of them cry. What do I do?
This is what I have learned to say to the younger:
It’s okay that you feel angry about your sister taking that from you.
But it’s not okay to hit your sister.
At that point, I offer alternatives as to what she could’ve done differently. This one strategy is a powerful way helping someone with their behavior.
Why It Works
The Okay Not Okay method words precisely because it does two things simultaneously:
It affirms their core desire
Gives them where they need to grow
Most correction is insufficient because it doesn’t affirm their core desire. Most correction I’ve seen is “Don’t hit!”. While that’s a correct correction, what that does is that it leaves their legitimate feelings being neglected.
Those legitimate feelings need to be acknowledged, nurtured, and directed in the right way. If not, people will just learn to bury their emotions, not take ownership over how they feel, and not know how to pivot towards correct action.
The principle is really simple:
When giving correction, start by affirming the core desire, and then give the correction.
Alternatives for Adults- “I see that/Something to Consider”
The Okay / Not I think is a great intro into learning how to correct.
For adults in more sophisticated settings, the okay / not okay method can feel juvenile. It’s actually really simple to contextualize for adults.
I use the “I see that/ something to consider” method. It’s the exact same principle with just slightly more mature language. (Adults need a little more nurturing, believe it or not!)
Here’s an example:
“I see that you are really looking for getting promoted. This desire is really good.
“Something to consider is when you promote yourself so brazenly is that it might rub people the wrong way.”
This method is very affirming and gentle, yet effective in helping people.
When’s Your Next Correction?
I believe that to be great, you are going to raise up great people around you.
And the only way to do that is to have the skill of correcting them without crushing their spirit. This simple tool and framework will go a long way in terms of making sure you deposit wisdom and courage in people without crushing their spirit.
What do you think of this method?
Let me know in the comments!
You mean to tell me that "WTF is wrong with you?" is not the way to go? LOL!
I love the "okay / not okay" method, because it helps dissect the problem further, and helps both sides see things more critically.
And you know I like using the word "consider" in my writing a lot; but let me find opportunities to say "I see that"
Thanks, Phil. As always! God's work, right here!