Because giving and receiving feedback is a skill everyone can stand to get better at, we recently went through a company-wide training. If words like "feedback" and "company-wide training" make you groan — stop yourself (at least from doing it out loud).
While no one likes giving feedback, or sitting in trainings, everyone likes improving — and it's impossible to do that without being told the areas in which you could grow.
In our sessions, we had a lot of solid conversations and learned a lot of great tips (like how to give peer feedback and how to take constructive criticism like a champ). But one of the most interesting discussions I had was with a group of managers who shared that they sometimes don't offer constructive criticism, even though they know they should.
More from The Muse:
This is how you give honest feedback to anyone, anytime—without hurting feelings
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2 ways to give your boss honest feedback that aren't scary
What's stopping them? I reached out to get answers and heard the following:
- I don't want to demotivate them because they're so overworked already.
- I'm not sure if the feedback I want to give them is valid or if it's just a personal problem.
- I'm so mentally drained every day that I don't have the time or energy to give deep constructive and corrective feedback.
- I gave them feedback once already, and they're still doing the thing I gave them feedback on. I feel like if they didn't listen the first time, they won't listen the second.
- I'm concerned that it'll become a point of fixation for the receiver, who's otherwise doing good work.
- I don't think they really want constructive feedback.
- I'm not sure what I want, but it's not that, and I know that's not specific enough feedback
- This person used to be my peer and now they're my direct report — I don't know how to change the dynamic!
While those may all sound familiar, the most common response was "I don't want to upset my direct report and make things awkward." This is 100 percent understandable. But it's also the wrong way to manage. People can't improve if they don't know where to start.
So, in an effort to help you push through that "icky" feeling, I laid out the three excuses you probably make to avoid giving feedback — and provided a mantra to help you get over each one.