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Leadership Tips: “Feed” Others with Your Feedback

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Recall a time in the last month that you, as leader or peer, needed to give someone feedback – positive or constructive. Did you give it? Why or why not?

Consistently throughout my work week, there are at least three or four times that someone will describe a situation to me about someone else, inside or outside of work, and my response is the exact same: Did you give he or she that feedback? (And I often ask the same question while processing the situation myself.)

Feedback should be given for both positive and constructive intent. If Katie impressed every single person in the room in her last client presentation, did you give her specific feedback about how great she was? And going further, the impact it has on you? Or on the flip side, if Dan was tentative and less poised in his last presentation, did you give him constructive feedback about using more definitive, confident language? And then explore how he can be supported?

Now be honest: Does it make your skin crawl thinking about having these conversations?

Feedback in theory should be easy, but it rarely is. Especially when giving constructive feedback. We want to be liked and fear that pointing out areas to work on can jeopardize that. On the receiving end, we want to appear as though we are competent in everything we do. When we learn we have behaviors that need to be course corrected, it can be difficult to hear. And when we need to have this conversation with others, especially giving feedback up (to our boss for example) it can feel dangerous.

Focus on overcoming this fear. This week’s tip is to give more feedback to people on your team and in your life.

Feedback really does feed others. According to a study from OfficeVibe, the impact of feedback is often underestimated. Chew on these thoughts:

    • 98% of employees will fail to be engaged when managers give little or no feedback
    • 65% of employees want more feedback
    • 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback once a week

Those stats are enough to make me reconsider staying quiet, when minor discomfort temporarily overcomes me.

So I ask: How will you “feed” others this week?

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