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Your Employees May Be Writing To Advice Columnists About You!

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

If you manage a team, it is very likely that some of your direct reports are frustrated about not getting enough feedback from you. Based on the letters and comments received by online business journals and career development bloggers, this topic is a top concern of ambitious workers wanting to get ahead at work.

And no, it’s not just that they want to feel pumped up with positive feedback all the time. They specifically mention wanting constructive criticism or negative feedback way more often than they are getting it.

In the July 2014 Fast Company article, “Ask The Experts: How Can I Get My Boss To Give Me More Critical Feedback?,” columnist Lolly Daskal helps a seeker named New and Adrift with her career problem: “I have an odd complaint: My boss doesn’t give me enough critical feedback on my work.” Daskal explains the benefits she sees in getting this kind of feedback and encourages the seeker to be proactive in asking for feedback, acknowledging some of the reasons why managers are slow to deliver this valuable commodity.

About 80% of all managers, by my calculation, could be New and Adrift’s boss. Maybe it’s you. Feedback is needed and wanted by both your new and seasoned employees more than ever before. And it’s time to drop the excuses:

You don’t have time. This is simply not true, because if you build a feedback culture in your group, feedback is fast and commonplace. You and your employee can make a big course correction in a one minute hallway chat and nobody will go home bruised and broken. More importantly, feedback saves you the time of addressing problems later.

Your folks can’t handle honest feedback. Another falsehood. Just try it (making sure they are giving it back to you too). Sure, there is a small chance that someone on your team may express hurt or frustration, but you will see that all or most will respond with big-time improvements and they will thank you for developing them.

The company’s culture doesn’t support it. This one is irrelevant. I have never seen a manager dissed from above for giving honest feedback that is helpful, timely, and focused on future success–no matter how nicey-nice the culture. If anything, the feedback-giving manager is praised as the “nicer” boss!

Before your direct reports seek career advice about how to get you to give them constructive feedback, JUST DO IT NOW!

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