Please don’t complain about your team members unless you’ve been openly sharing your opinions with them!
As is so often the case, the theme of this bulletin is drawn from behaviours I’ve been noticing in my work with leaders. Regardless of whether the leader is well seasoned or much newer, this practice is rampant…
Will you join me in confronting this tricky issue head on?
The Real Costs Of Not Being Candid Are Huge!
Not giving team members feedback, and not addressing performance issues, is an expensive problem to live with. Typically the sorts of costs that are being incurred are:
- Your team member doesn’t get a chance to alter their behaviour and meet the expectations of you, their boss. They just get the niggling feeling that something’s just not quite right in your eyes.
- Performance and results (both quality and quantity) aren’t as good as they could be.
- Your team member’s peers notice that the team member’s performance or behaviour isn’t being dealt with—which they find discouraging. (“Observers” in 360-feedback processes often care enough about it to mention it to me.)
- Your lack of candour impacts you—how you feel about your day as you’re driving home, for example.
- Motivation and morale, across the board, is negatively impacted.
What’s Inhibiting Your Candour?
So why is this avoidance of giving team members candid feedback so prevalent?
There are lots of reasons you might be sidestepping being candid with team member feedback:
- The time pressures you’re experiencing are huge. There aren’t too many leaders these days who’re on top of their To Do List. Most of you are running from meeting to meeting with barely time to “scratch yourself” between them.
- Giving feedback can be an uncomfortable thing to do.
- And there’s another big one…
If you’re one of the many leaders who’s evasive about the feedback you provide, or who’s not giving it the high priority that it deserves, I have an inkling that you might just be putting your own needs for avoiding difficult situations, ahead of both:
- Your team member’s desire and need to perform effectively, and
- Your organisation’s desire and need to maximise its results.
Is your habit of avoiding having uncomfortable discussions getting precedence over you doing whatever you need to do to maximise performance?
What Can You Do To Make Giving Team Member Feedback Easier?
Team members want your candid feedback. They don’t like guessing what you like and don’t like. They want opportunities to enhance their performance and make a greater contribution to the organisation. So let’s look at what you can do to make giving authentic feedback a lot less demanding…
- Take a balanced approach.
No one wants to feel dumped on, least of all your team members with whom you work with every day.
Balance your feedback by talking about what you appreciate as well as what you don’t appreciate as much.
- Make it your opinion—not a fact.
Diminish resistance to your feedback by being clear in your own mind about what’s an opinion and what’s a fact.
It’s your opinion that it’s a cold day. Would an Eskimo think it’s cold?
It’s your opinion that the report that your team member just handed you lacks sufficient scientific evidence and is poorly formatted. Different people may have different perceptions about the report. Your perception is not a fact—it’s your opinion. Make sure that’s how you communicate it.
- Decide, simply decide, to be courageous.
It takes courage to be candid.
When we imagine what we don’t want to happen, happening, we experience anx.iety. I therefore suggest that, before and during the conversation, you imagine having a smooth, connecting feedback discussion with your team member, for which they’re grateful.
- Make giving feedback a habit, like getting your morning coffee or tea.
Giving feedback is like most things—it’ll unquestionably become easier and easier, the more you do it.
Your Leadership Call to Action
Please, please contemplate the huge costs of not being candid—and make a clear decision to habitually share your thoughts and feelings about your team members with your team members.
Start by having a truthful, balanced conversation with each of them. From there, at least fortnightly, I suggest that you give clear feedback to each of your team members—what you appreciate most and what you don’t appreciate as much.
And then notice how delighted you are with the increased performance, motivation and morale—and how proud you are of yourself too!
As always, give me a yell if you want support with this. And keep all that feedback flowing in. I like it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.