Fear of Conflict and Giving Feedback

Three different faces with happy, sad, and neutral expressions

Very few people like conflict, including leaders. Fear of conflict prevents us from giving feedback employees, peers, and bosses. Lack of specific, timely feedback from a trusted person prevents many from realizing their true potential.

The good news is that giving good feedback is not hard. With a commitment to do it and a bit of practice you’ll be on your way.

Here are some of the helpful strategies I’ve learned along the way.

  1. To give effective feedback you need safety and trust between the giving and receiver. If this is lacking then you need to start there. Some things to consider that help create a safe and trusting environment for feedback:
    • Give one-on-one feedback
    • Start positive
    • Feedback is a gift, not a whip or a carrot
  2. Create regular opportunities for feedback using weekly or bi-meeting huddles (5-7min meeting). During these short quick check-ins do the following:
    1. Provide feedback on things that have recently occurred, not something that happened last month
    2. Give opportunities for receiver to ask questions and share successes
    3. Inquiry about employee needs and if there is anything I can do to help
  3. When a significant event occurs schedule a meeting as quickly as possible to discuss the issue. Make sure that you do your homework before you meet. During these meetings:
    1. Clearly state the intention of the meeting
    2. Show, don’t tell
    3. Phrase feedback in a constructive way
    4. Use a growth mindset
    5. Share the context
    6. Get clear about how you intend to help
  4. When feedback does not seem to impacting behavior then take it up a notch.
    1. Clearly state the intention of the meeting and that this is not the first concern
    2. Prepare yourself to get feedback on yourself or processes that you created
    3. Be clear and give examples
    4. Emphasize facts not feelings
    5. Be tough, not mean
    6. Limit feedback to one or two areas at a time
    7. Find a solution together
    8. Finding help is better than offering it yourself
  5. No matter what make sure that you have a schedule to follow-up after feedback. If needed add a calendar reminder so that you don’t forget. 95% of the time it is a opportunity to praise the improvement.

 

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