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End Feedback Procrastination: Bust Through The Five Most Common Excuses For Delaying Feedback

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

If you’re like 80% of leaders at all levels, giving feedback is worse than a root canal. You find convenient excuses to avoid it, until, of course, not doing it begins to hurt, bad. Until customers complain, departmental expenses get out of hand, your boss gets critical, or team members start to quit, you’re likely to put it off another day or week or month. Do any of these inner messages sound familiar:

  1. I don’t have time to prepare for it.

  2. I don’t want to discourage people while they’re on a challenging project.

  3. I’ve never addressed this issue with them before, and they’ll be surprised if I jump in now.

  4. I should wait ‘til our annual review next month.

  5. I’ve always believed in focusing on the positive.

But if you really break these excuses down, they are pretty illogical…

Time Actually, you don’t have time NOT to give feedback. Delays, errors, bad morale, and other problems deplete even more of your time.

Morale All the research points to employees’ distrust of leaders who don’t tell them the truth and don’t develop them. They want feedback on a timely basis.

Don’t want to surprise them You need to ask yourself whether the feedback session you finally get around to next month will surprise them less. What about the progressive discipline you will have to go through before firing them. Is that better?

Waiting ‘til review Research shows that employees HATE it when their boss waits till performance review broaches a problem that could have been corrected months ago.

Preferring positivity Truthful feedback is never negative. It’s helpful information that can lead people to better results. If you establish credibility through honest and frequent feedback, your positive feedback will have a much bigger impact than through idle compliments.

Take these steps today to stop procrastinating Here are some ideas for getting feedback started right now. Choose at least two of these items and don’t leave your office until you’ve taken action:

  1. Tell everyone—at a meeting or via email—that you want to develop people more and you will be setting up short frequent check-ins for this purpose.

  2. Set up meeting times with three people, at least one of which is an excellent performer.

  3. Choose one person who’s doing pretty well at their job and walk right into their office to give them the positive feedback and make one suggestion for improvement.

  4. Initiate a conversation with someone you work with closely, ask them for their feedback to you, and offer at least one suggestion for them.

  5. Make a list of your team members on one page and note the one item for each person that would have the best impact on the business AND is fairly do-able by them.

Go home, relax, and celebrate your victory. The root canal is over.

The Feedback Imperative book

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