Are You Too Making This Deadly Feedback Mistake?

Do you ever have trouble giving honest feedback when someone isn’t meeting your expectations or living up to their agreements?

I mean, we’re kind people, right?

We don’t want to hurt people’s feelings.

They might feel upset or sad.

So … we just ignore it. 

Hope that things get better on their own.

Hope they “get the message”.

Well … how’s that workin’ out for ya?

Not so well, is it?

The thing is that, yeah, it might sting a little. For about 10 seconds. Maybe a minute.

But not saying anything is going to lead to eventually lead to much more pain.

A LOT more pain.

This is something that it’s taken me a long time to figure out. So how do you do it?

You first show that you care about them as a person.

No, I’m not talking about the “shit sandwich”.

I’m talking about in your day-to-day interactions actually showing that you care.

Since you’re following me, I doubt that’s an issue for you, though.

You’ve got the caring dialed in.

Second, you want to be completely clear with them.

“Hey, do we agree that it was your responsibility to do this?”

Yes.

“Great, and do we agree that you didn’t?”

Yeah.

“Good. I want to make it clear that’s just not acceptable. I need you to handle this absolutely every time. If I can’t trust you to have this, then there won’t be a job for you at this company.”

Boom. No room for interpretation.

Can feel harsh, but it’s not. It’s just clear. No pretense.

It’s a wake-up call.

If it comes to a parting point, it won’t be a surprise.

It’s important to create the work, not the person. Don’t make it personal.

And start by assuming that you’re wrong. That’s very likely.

You misunderstood something. Or forgot to communicate something. Or misremembered something.

Kim Scott calls this Radical Candor.

The thing most of us typically do, she calls Ruinous Empathy.

Ouch.

Ruinous empathy.

It’s true.

That’s what you do when you fail to be direct and clear in your feedback. It's ruinous to the person and the relationship.

Make a commitment right now to radical candor in all relationships in your life.

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