How to Give Feedback | 120 Seconds to Better Leadership

Navigating Feedback Delivery

There are a lot of dichotomies you’ve got to navigate in order to be a good leader. We want to be respected, but we also want to be liked. We want our teams to like working for us and yet we’re supposed to hold a high bar for them and so one of the things that executives struggle with is really around feedback: how to deliver feedback that is honestly the truth about what this person needs to hear in order to be effective and to move on in their career and also not wanting to demoralize that person, hurt that person’s feelings so bad that they hate working for us.

 An Approach to Try

Here’s an approach you might try. I think feedback should always be timely, direct, accurate. I personally don’t pull punches at all. Everyone in my life knows exactly where they stand with me. And when I have those crucial conversations with direct reports, even clients sometimes, it’s always done with the intent-- that I think they can feel, and if not, I can say—this is for the betterment of your career. You might not think this is a problem right now, but what I know is in five years, you’re going to want to be an EVP, and I’m telling you, if you don’t fix this right now, this will come back to haunt you alter, because this will be even more important then.

Frame it with Good Intent

So if you can frame that feedback, even if it’s tough to hear, in the frame of: this is why I’m giving you the feedback. And if the intent is good and it’s obvious that your intention for this feedback is good, it may still hurt them, but in the long run they’ll be grateful that you gave it to them.