All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor.
Have you ever been asked to give your feedback to a coworker, employee, or significant other?
If your like most people the art of feedback feels more like a chore. As humans we want to be nice. We don’t want to hurt another persons feelings.
By nature we are looking for the bright spot.
So when asked for input most of us will give the softball reply.
“I liked it”
“You did well”
Part of being truly memorable is helping others through constructive criticism. Our friends, our employees, our coworkers really gain nothing and have no opportunity to grow if we constantly give cream puff feedback.
Without candor there is no opportunity for improvement.
My wife and I have been together over 20 years. She is brutally honest. And each time I ask for feedback and it isn’t the kind, complementary version I was hoping for I feel hurt…momentarily. Then after I get off my defensive position I start to think; to evaluate the merits of these comments. Inevitably I find the hard truth to contain invaluable learning’s.
As a manager I have a reputation for being particularly direct.
For employees that are used to spending their careers in exclusively ‘atta boy’ and ‘atta girl’ work environments my style takes some folks back a peg or two. It’s not that my feedback is focused on the negative. If there are good things to share I will pile it on high and thick.
It’s just that the directness tends to throw folks. They simply are not used to it.
Quickly they begin to see that my directness is never intended to offend. Rather it is intended to cut through the b.s. and clutter that they often get and to offer them useful feedback.
Next time you are asked for feedback why not ask a few qualifying questions about what the recipient wants feedback on? How the report was written? The manner in which the presentation was made? The viability of wearing a hot pink tie?
With that information in mind you can offer constructive, candid feedback targeted in the direction that is most instructive to the recipient.
While ‘nice’ is well, nice, it does nothing to help friends, colleagues, and employees grow.
Try to dish up some straight forward, honest, well constructed feedback next time you are asked.
It will be received more positively than you might imagine.
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