Giving feedback can be a daunting task for leaders. Lots of concerns swirl around in our minds as we sit down to offer feedback to those we lead.
“How will they respond”?
“Should I bring this up”?
Feedback is difficult to give but it is necessary for effective leadership. It is also loving and given the proper conditions and heart posture of the leader can bear much fruit in both the lives of the one giving the feedback and the one receiving it.
A couple of things to keep in mind as you give feedback.
When we give feedback largely influences how the feedback is received. This is tricky because it requires us knowing the people we lead and what is currently happening in their lives. Are you meeting immediately following a doctor’s appointment? Are you giving your pastor feedback on his sermon in the lobby immediately following the service? (Sorry, I am a pastor after all) Commit to giving feedback, as much as possible, at times when people are less emotionally charged or exhausted. Again, the goal of feedback is growth, not condemnation. This means that, as leaders, we must labor to intentionally create moments where the feedback we give others, no matter how difficult it may be to receive, can be received in a helpful way when people can think clearly and calmly.
How we give feedback is extremely important. Content accuracy is important when giving feedback, but emotional intelligence is just as important. Tone is a major influencer in how feedback is received. Is your tone aggressive? Condescending? A good general rule that a mentor shared with me on feedback: wrap a constructive criticism with 2 positive encouragements. Keep the tone optimistic if at all possible. See feedback as an opportunity to embrace not a meeting to endure. Be direct, but be kind.
Remember, as a leader, one of the most helpful things we can do for those we lead. Feedback provides opportunities for growth in both the leader and the follower, so don’t miss out.