Productive Feedback Fuels Performance

Managers’ ability to share feedback, especially in WFH regime, comes across as one of the most difficult of leadership skills. Many people think that the tough feedback is always considered as negative, like ‘bad news’. It implies that the recipient has messed up or done something wrong and that’s why he/she is being invited for a ‘big’ meeting during which is his/her career or future will be decided. That’s not necessarily true. So, let’s take it easy.

The term ‘tough’ itself is a harsh expression, therefore, it would be wise to add ‘productive’ to it and henceforth, let’s name it ‘Productive Feedback’. Tough by definition is “unyielding and firm”. It’s more useful to think of tough feedback in that context — it may be uncomfortable for someone to hear what is being said simply because it’s not consistent with how they view themselves.

On the other hand, the most dramatic and dreaded ritual for most managers is the annual or bi-annual performance review. Some just hate it as this ritual is going to ruin their personal PR. Not only is there a substantial amount of administrative work involved , but also the added stress of having to deliver constructive criticism to employees. In fact, a Harris Poll, on behalf of Interact, found that 69% of managers feel uncomfortable communicating with employees – especially when considering the likelihood of a negative response to feedback. Although managers can delegate a variety of responsibilities, providing feedback is not one of them. This job must stay with the line manager and must be taken very seriously.

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