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The Pain vs. the Positives of Giving Feedback

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

Human beings are loath to inflict pain on others. They assume that giving honest, corrective feedback is going to cause hurt feelings, low self-esteem, poor team morale, or, at the very least, it will be a distraction from the leader’s efficiency. Offering feedback frequently is even more painful, the logic goes.

Some leaders will go to extremes to avoid giving feedback 

A few leaders have candidly told me that they are simply incapable of giving people honest feedback and they would rather quit their jobs than do so. Other managers put it out of their minds and never even consider saying anything until they decide to fire the person.

Some are plenty willing to give feedback, but avoid the relationship

Still others have no problem giving corrective feedback, and they do it promptly and bluntly. But they may have avoided making the overall emotional connection needed to acknowledge an employee’s strengths and help them develop from the feedback. The pain being avoided here is the personal relationship: “Hey, I don’t want to get close to employees. I’m sure they can see my weaknesses, too.

What hurts the most: No feedback!

Getting up the nerve to talk to an employee or call her may be excruciating. But the most interesting fact about feedback is that the one way to ensure that feedback is painful is to avoid giving it! What’s more, the longer we wait to give feedback, the more it hurts both the employee and the manager. There is a huge upside  giving and receiving everyday feedback.   In addition to keeping people happier on the job, feedback loops stimulate improvements and better results for the company.

This is the moment

We are living in a critical moment in relationship to feedback information that a leader can provide by giving feedback that has never been more sought after by today’s employees, and yet most leaders and most companies have not fully awakened to this reality. Because you are interested in ramping up your understanding of both the emotional and business dynamic of feedback, you have a unique opportunity to steer the future for your team members, for your own organization, and for your own personal development.

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