In this post I talk through a personal challenge of mine around giving feedback. Ive realized I have over-reacted to error and am perpetuating my own leadership errors. I need to change! In reading Necessary Endings by Dr Henry Cloud I am learning some really good insight.
First, if you are avoiding giving feedback, have a look in the mirror and find out what is behind that. If you (I) have avoided giving candid feedback how you are experiencing someone there is no way they can be held responsible for their behavior. Start by speaking candidly… “Are you aware that this is how we are experiencing you….?” “Can I please have 10 minutes to give you some feedback about how I am experiencing you…”
Secondly if you are enabling the problem by not speaking up, OR by running around and cleaning up the effects, more than they are taking responsibility, YOU have the problem. They have no need to change.
I have adopted a quote overheard from the 14 year old daughter of one of my team… “This is not my problem; I am not responsible for everyone.”
So, now to Dr Cloud and HOW to give feedback (or NOT…):
There are three kinds of people on your team and around you (customers, friends, relatives…), in regard to how they respond to feedback and their intent.
1. Evil (I refer to this as TOXIC)
There is no point giving feedback. They won’t respond, no matter how kind or direct or patient or convincing you are. They are bent on your demise. They want to undermine and sabotage your leadership and/or what you are wanting to grow. The ONLY way to deal with toxic people is to apply, in Dr Clouds words, “lawyers, guns and cash.” This refers to doing anything in your power (FYI, guns is referring to the police, not your own means) to remove them, protect yourself and/or isolate the toxicity as fast as possible before it affects others around you.
Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return.
Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. Proverbs 9:7 (NLT)
This may be well meaning people but after repeated attempts at giving feedback they are still not seeing and owning the problem. They have all the reasons why it was someone else’s issue and they are not responsible. The problem is no longer the problem; the real problem is that they don’t have a problem. Feedback is pointless. Now the ONLY thing you can do is use consequences. “Until this behavior ceases/changes you will be on modified duties…” “Forgive me for my lack of clarity… your job is to do…. If this is not done by…, we will need to involve HR.”
So don’t bother correcting mockers;
they will only hate you.
But correct the wise,
and they will love you. Proverbs 9:8 (NLT)
These people are a delight and should be consistently promoted as they respond. Your feedback is received as a WELCOME list of areas for them to grow in. They love the input and ask for help to grow. The more you work with them the more they respond.
Instruct the wise,
and they will be even wiser.
Teach the righteous,
and they will learn even more. Proverbs 9:9 (NLT)
So, where do you need to grow?
Who do you have around you that is begging for your feedback and ready to grow like crazy?
Where do you need to pick up the phone and call HR/legal?
Where do you need to cut off toxic influence?
Remember, if you have never spoken up, then they will never have a first chance to respond. But after candidly speaking truth/feedback and NOT having a response you will need to change the game plan.
For me, I have wise advisors around me to help give perspective and coach me through decisions, especially when I get so involved I can’t see clearly. I also have a counsellor to help me unpack and repair my own dysfunction where I have over-reacted to error by creating error (avoiding giving clear feedback.) Either way, welcome to leadership growth!
This is going to be a great year!
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Andy Mason comes from New Zealand and has 15+ years experience helping individuals and organizations discover and align with purpose, then develop practical steps to make dreams a reality.He has worked for a national consultancy firm and leading financial institution as well as investing in international community development.Andy is the director of Heaven in Business and together with his wife, Janine, leads Dream Culture – a movement catalyzing people to discover and live their dreams. Andy and Janine live with their four children in Redding, CA. For more check out the AndyandJanine.com