I’m guest posting over at SmartBrief for Leadership today…do check it out!
“Tell me why you never talked to Josh about the problems with his job performance.”
“I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.”
This dialogue happened during legal discovery as part of an unlawful-termination lawsuit.
Fed up with an employee’s ongoing failure to meet job requirements, the supervisor had fired him. The employee believed he had been fired because he was older and more tenured than the rest of his department and hence earned more money.
If you supervise people, speaking to them candidly and with care about their job-performance deficiencies is a must-have skill.
I’ll never forget the first time I had to tell one of my employees his job performance was missing the mark. I’d postponed the discussion a dozen times. The time lag only made me more and more uncomfortable and dashed my secret hopes that he would read my mind and miraculously start doing a better job.
Feedback elements flow chart courtesy of MIT
What others have to say about the power of feedback
- No one cares about your opinion. We want your analysis.
- Say the right thing at the right time.
- If you have something nice to say, please say it.
- Give me feedback, no matter what.
The difference between criticism and feedback
Criticism is driven by the frustration and fears of the giver, not from the needs of the recipient. The underlying assumption is that the recipient somehow “should know better” and needs to be set straight. The implied message is that the recipient’s intentions are questionable, that there is something wrong with the recipient that the giver of criticism knows how to fix. In criticism, the problem is all in the recipient.
In contrast, feedback has an air of caring concern, respect, and support. Far from being a sugar cookie, feedback is an honest, clear, adult to adult exchange about specific behaviors and the effects of those behaviors. The assumption is that both parties have positive intentions, that both parties want to be effective and to do what is right for the company and other people. Another assumption is that well-meaning people can have legitimate differences in perception. The person offering the feedback owns the feedback as being his reaction to the behavior of the other person. That is, the giver recognizes the fact that what is being offered is a perception, not absolute fact.
~Gary R. Casselman & Timothy C. Daughtry