Simple Steps for Giving Difficult Feedback
Not all leaders are comfortable giving employees feedback — especially when it’s negative. The fear of hurting people’s feelings and dealing with potential drama holds too many managers back. But people thrive on feedback, which is why giving it early and often is so important. The next time you need to have a difficult feedback conversation with an employee, use these guidelines:
- Be direct but kind. Don’t beat around the bush. Include specific examples of desired behaviors to help illustrate what you mean.
- Listen. This provides a space in which both people feel respected.
- Don’t make it personal. Imagined slights and malice are toxic, but if you acknowledge the emotions being felt, you open a relief valve for the stress.
- Be present. Show up fully for the discussion, and don’t rush off once it’s over. Follow up later so afterthoughts don’t create imagined distance.
- Inspire greatness. Be sure to communicate your aspirations for the person you’re giving feedback to.
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