One of the hardest parts of being a leader is pointing out how someone’s behaviors are doing damage or how their results are lacking. Here are some tips for giving feedback well.
- Be calm. If we are angry, worried, fearful, or tense, they will react poorly. Best to wait until we are calm.
- Be direct and specific. State what you notice and why this is a problem. See if you can express it cleanly, calmly, and respectfully in just one or two sentences.
- Allow a moment. Let there be a bit of silence after you say what you notice and why it’ a problem. This gives you time to more accurately notice their reactions and gives them time to understand the importance.
- Ask their perspective. If the issue involves other people’s reactions/feedback, let them say their point of view. Be open to the very real possibility that others contributed to the problem.
- Reaffirm your faith. Believe that they will improve the situation and tell them that you believe it.
- Coach solutions. “Let’s explore ways you can improve the situation. What might you try?”
Finally, move quickly but not too quickly. Going too fast makes it hard for us to gather data, hear the nuances, and minimize any bias. Letting issues fester causes much more pain than dealing with it now.
In your corner,