Hard feedback directly addresses the uncomfortable or emotional issues that impede effective workplace performance. Hard feedback is tough to give and often uncomfortable for the giver. Understanding these discomforts helps make giving feedback easier.



Why is Hard Feedback So Tough?

Our need to be accepted or liked, our fear of reprisal or rejection, or concern that the relationship will be compromised can keep us from addressing issues more directly.


Ask yourself these questions.


1.     What really scares YOU? 

·       Are you afraid of being viewed as incompetent? 

·       Are you afraid they will think you are mean or bad or heartless?


2.     What might be YOUR part in this problem?

·       Have you delayed dealing with this?

·       Have you sugar-coated or minimized the problem?

·       Have you shown favoritism?


3.     Are you making this about YOU?

·       Are you sensitive to the issue?

·       Are you personally uncomfortable about the problem??

o   Are you overly sensitive based on past experiences?

o   Do you feel some sense of failure?

o   Do you feel disrespected?


What You Can Do

1.  Remember, giving feedback isn’t about you.

2.  Act like a mediator – or third party.  Talk “we” rather than “you”.

3.  Explore options together before taking a position to keep the other party in the conversation.

4.  Acknowledge feelings.  Feelings often override logic and are best addressed before moving on. 

5.  Take a break when things get rough – but commit to revisiting the issues.