Medium for Teams

Mar 16

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How to Give Difficult Feedback

Learning to give feedback well is a skill that will benefit you both professionally and personally. Discover why these tough conversations are so important, how to prepare for them, and how to handle the emotions that might come up.

1. Start by working through your own emotions around giving feedback. In this piece, psychologist Nick Wignall shows you how to mentally and emotionally prepare for a tough conversation. "Are you avoiding giving your coworker negative feedback because you don’t know how or don’t have the right skills? Or are you avoiding it because you’re anxious about them thinking badly of you afterward?"

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2. Next, remember that the point of difficult feedback is to help your team member. Here, organizational strategist Zach Montroy quickly explores a helpful quote from Brené Brown. "We often don’t set clear expectations because we’re either afraid of micromanaging (cause who wants a micromanagy boss) or we think our team just knows our thoughts."
3. Now, prepare for and actually have the conversation. Kim Scott, co-founder of Radical Candor, Inc, walks you through paving the way, delivering the feedback, and handling the tough emotions that might come up. "Like it or not, your ability to build trusting, human connections with the people who report directly to you will determine the quality of everything that follows."
7. Finally, as a bit of encouragement, here's a story by someone who received some very uncomfortable feedback from his boss. "It was the worst feedback ever, by country miles. It was a personal attack, or I felt like it. But it was also the best feedback ever. It revealed to me something I hadn’t even known to think about."