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The Champion Forum Podcast

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TCFP235: Feedback Avoidance

Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Our most vital lessons and career gains have come from meaningful feedback. Yet, as leaders, we often are uncomfortable delivering feedback despite its importance. We hesitate, procrastinate until the annual review, or simply avoid it altogether. Today on The Champion Forum Podcast, we discuss the beliefs leaders have about feedback and the mindset shifts that will help you stop avoiding feedback.

You can choose the pain of giving the feedback or the pain of avoiding the feedback. The pain of avoiding feedback will have far greater consequences for your career, team, and organization. When feedback is lacking, performance, company culture, and morale suffer. A leader damages their credibility when their employees are not held accountable for missed deadlines, bad behavior, or poor performance. A lack of feedback and accountability will impact your ability to inspire high-performing, winning teams.

Q: Do you avoid giving feedback or give it freely? What drives you to give or avoid giving feedback? What impact do you think your habit has on your team?

Reasons Why Leaders Avoid Giving Feedback

1. They might quit!

It’s easy to think that glowing feedback will raise your employee’s confidence and boost their performance. Perhaps they’re a superstar, and we fear that giving them constructive feedback will discourage and push them to seek roles elsewhere. The truth is that the best employees dislike soft messages and may seek out a new leader or new company to provide them with direct feedback. Building strong relationships with your employees helps them see your feedback as a gift, not a beatdown.

2. I don’t have time

One reason managers don’t give feedback is simply a lack of time. Getting results and putting out fires takes priority over providing on-the-spot corrective advice to a team member. The reality is that giving feedback will save you time in the long run. Developing people requires giving feedback, and the most successful managers and leaders are those who have invested time into mastering this skill.

Q: How often do you give feedback? What time do you allot for giving feedback every week? Describe a time when giving feedback saved you time.

3. What if they get emotional

Managers can have an exaggerated fear of how their employees will react to feedback, especially how emotional they may be. (If you are concerned about what you will do if your employee cries, check out this past episode.) New leaders are especially prone to feel unequipped to handle their employees’ emotions and try to avoid upsetting them. You have to understand that you can only control how you give feedback; you cannot control how they respond.

4. Fear

Fear of not getting it right

In our desire to be fair and accurate, we worry so much about the content of the message that we scrutinize it to death. Instead, remember that the delivery and the nonverbals often have a greater impact than the actual content of your message. Be genuine! You have the person’s best interests at heart and want them to succeed; this almost always comes across when presented with a positive mindset. The goal is not to do it perfectly but to change a desired outcome and help them improve.

Fear of being disliked

All leaders want to win people’s approval, keep them happy, and demonstrate all the desirable attributes of a great boss. However, the role of the leader is to be likable, not liked. Your ultimate goal is to be respected, which you can only earn if you get comfortable with tension.

Q: What fears do you have regarding your position as a leader? How do those fears influence your decisions? What would your life look like if you could eliminate those fears? Have you ever sensed that your leader was afraid of upsetting you? How did that affect your relationship?

Application Activities

  1. Think of three leaders that had the most significant impact on your life. Describe your relationship with them. Were they tough on you? Candid? Firm? Relaxed? Transparent? How do you feel about using some of the strategies they used?

  2. If you struggle with people pleasing and a desire to be liked, write down a list of likeable qualities about yourself. Do you demonstrate these to your employees? If so, remind yourself of these qualities whenever you are tempted to worry about if someone will like you. Remember that you cannot control what people think of you. You can only be happy with who you are.

  3. Go back to the mindsets you wrote down after the previous episode. Write down a new mindset to counter the mindsets that are not serving you. Use the content from this episode to create these new mindsets. Write them down in the front of your planner or on a note in your car so you can be reminded of them at least once a day.

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