Recently, a few clients shared their “difficulties” about offering feedback. They expressed a combination of reluctance, unwillingness, inability and frustration. “What do I say?” “How do I say it?” Some were coming across way too strong and others very weak. The results? People did not know where they stood, and some had no idea that they were standing in quick stand. All because someone was unwilling to offer feedback.
I guess feedback has a bad rap. Understandably so, as many of us offer it poorly. This poor performance is likely tinged with distaste, a fear of hurting feelings, insecurity, or simply not knowing how to approach it or what to say.
Feedback is about human communication. This type of communication is used to improve or appreciate something. When you understand this and take your own judgment out of the equation, it’s quite simple.
Feedback is a gift. To offer it from the place of being a humanized leader, means that position and power are not even in the sightline of this offering. As a human, I see something that maybe has not come to your awareness.
To reframe it, how in the world would someone know that they have spinach in their teeth, toilet paper on their shoe, or that they are missing a performance requirement if feedback were withheld? In this way, can you see it as an act of service?
We gunk it up with our resistance or with our control/power issues. We gunk it up by not offering it completely or offering it weakly. We gunk it up with our own discomfort that makes the feedback delivery feel like a firing squad.
Give up resistance. Didn’t some cartoon character say it is futile, anyway? Just be willing to be human. Desire the human connection. Desire the highest and best for the other person. If you meet their resistance, have compassion. Resistance meeting resistance is rock on rock. Compassion meeting resistance is like water – it gets into the cracks.
Remember, feedback is a gift. As a humanized leader, your job is to wrap it well so that it is well received. Wrap it with your humanity.