Just saying the word feedback gives me reason to shiver. After all, who really wants to be told that they could improve their performance? The call into the office away from anyone who may be able to hear or offer their support can be frightening to say the least. Trust me, it not only stinks getting feedback but giving it is hard too.
I am one of those leaders who despite having to drive others’ performance, wants to be liked. Because I don’t want to appear mean, I will often spend time thinking about how I will deliver feedback, so I will not put the feedbackee on the defensive. Sometimes, I find myself wanting to apologize for having to give out the feedback in the first place. One misspoken word can take a statement and turn it into a torrent of tears and backlash (or so I fear).
In reality, people do not blow up like a blueberry and explode into a million pieces if they are told that a specific behavior may be negatively impacting the business. Feedback is successfully administered by separating the unwanted behavior from the person you are addressing. If you make the statement about what you observe, an argument for change is better delivered.
As a leader, it is important to have the managerial courage to address problem behaviors at work. When I find myself becoming apologetic, I need to get back inside my head and realize that I am not doing anyone any favors for holding back.
Employees usually respect a leader who thinks enough of them to bring forward and discuss performance issues. Although they don’t like hearing bad news, they may not even be aware that there is an issue involving behavior. Overall, people want to do a good job and want to have the opportunity for growth in their careers. Holding back feedback can only stifle one’s personal growth.
I still want to be like as a person, but as a leader it is better to have their respect. Just like I have to remove a certain behavior from the individual and realize that it is not because I don’t like them that I have these difficult conversations. They don’t think that I am mean because I am interested in how we can positively impact the business. Like any other employee of the company, I want to do a good job and know that I am adding value through my actions while at work.