Shoot Straight When Giving Feedback

Linda Dulye's picture

For organizations and its leaders to achieve their respective – and interconnected – goals, they must rely on feedback. For years we have trumpeted the tremendous benefits of feedback on organizational communication and cultivating a spectator-free workplace. 


Feedback is a two-way street. Leaders have to be open to receiving it and employees have to feel comfortable to offer it. What's more, leaders have to understand the most effective methods for delivering feedback to employees.

We recently read an interview with Tiffany Cooper Gueye, chief executive of BELL, a nonprofit organization that assists urban children, in which she shares a lesson she learned on giving feedback:

That first year [in the job] I was too nervous about the role, and what it meant to be a manager, and I didn't want to upset people, and I wanted them to like me. I've since learned, of course, that hinting or trying to dance around issues is probably the worst thing you can do for somebody whose performance you're responsible for. And so, since then, feedback is probably one of the most important things to me in my leadership role. Assuming I have all the right people in the right positions, I think the most important thing I can do for them from there is provide direct, honest, clear feedback. And I get a lot of feedback in return from my direct reports that they really value that.

As we often say, today's businesses are running hard and fast, and remarkably lean. In today's pressure-packed workplace, don't leave your team wondering what they should be doing or what your expectations are.

In other words, don't sugarcoat it. Be direct.


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