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How many of us have had a dialogue playing on repeat inside our heads, but we can’t seem to muster the courage to take the next step and share our thoughts with the intended person? Go ahead take 10 seconds to think about it: The first conversation that comes to your mind is the one I’m talking about.

Difficult conversations tend to be nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing, because they involve providing constructive feedback…however they’re the ones we often want (and need) to have to make us and our direct reports more successful.

Why do some managers struggle to provide constructive feedback to others, especially when holding back means a potentially worse outcome?

3 good reasons come to mind:

  1. You might not be skilled in providing constructive feedback. (most mangers aren’t)
  2. Your direct reports might not be skilled (or experienced) in receiving feedback. (most employees aren’t)
  3. Most importantly, you might fear providing feedback will jeopardize your relationship with people in the workplace, particularly those you respect, and you don’t want to risk negatively impacting the relationship by sharing your opinion.

Today, instead of trying to answer the aforementioned, I will instead leave you with 3 questions.

  1. What might happen to your employee or your team if you’re aware of concerning behavior , but you don’t address it?
  2. If you learned how to provide constructive feedback, and if your direct report learned how to accept feedback, would you be more open to trying it out? 
  3. What type of leader would you become if you started delivering positive and constructive feedback?

We all win when we provide and acknowledge each other’s opinions with respect, empathy, and understanding. One step at a time.

Go for great.

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