“There’s a Russian anecdote about a guy who has to amputate his dog’s tail but loves him so much that he cuts it off an inch each day, rather than all at once. His desire to spare the dog pain and suffering only leads to more pain and suffering.”
There are many of you who do not hesitate to give feedback…thoroughly and quickly. Unfortunately, however, there are many who follow the principle of cutting the tail off one inch at a time, hoping that a mere hinting of the problem will hurt no feelings, cause minimal pain and solve the problem. Sadly, this is rarely the case. As leaders, it is a vital part of your responsibility, to give feedback. People need to know how they can improve. Should this feedback be given without support? Absolutely not, but feedback given poorly is worse than no feedback at all.
Your team needs leadership more than friendship. Does that mean you turn into a tyrant of criticism? Of course not, but it does mean that you recognize when there is a problem, and sacrifice what’s necessary to help. Even if that sacrifice is your short-term popularity. When you do this, you enable an environment where improvement is the standard, and clear feedback is the norm. Few things are sadder than the team that is stagnant in their growth since no one wants to rub someone the wrong way.
This week your challenge is to give real feedback… not just hint at a problem.
It’s not rocket science to be tactful, but it does take time and it does take some courage. If you need someone to shoot ideas back and forth with, feel free to give me a call or send me an email.
Poorly delivered feedback or the lack of feedback at all, is often what will cause the downfall of the team. It’s up to you whether or not it becomes the undoing of yours.
The above story and title was taken from the great read, “Radical Candor.”