How to Give Feedback as a Leader

How to Give Feedback

Leaders tend to fall into one of two categories on this.

They are either way too hard on people and they’re super intense and they make people feel like crap.

Many times, I find, more often than not, they’re way too soft and they’re afraid of conflict. They never tell anybody anything that they’re doing wrong because they don’t like confrontation. 

The idea of conflict or feedback is really hard for them because they don’t want to deliver it. 

That is why we deliberately use the word “coaching”.   

If you think about a basketball coach, a football coach, or any type of athletic coach, they coach in real-time. They don’t have reviews. They don’t sit quietly on the sideline and then do a giant debrief after the game. They will do a quick debrief after the game, but the actual coaching happens in real-time.

They’re giving continual instruction. 

Giving Feedback Effectively

rory vaden quote

The reason I struggled with this as a leader was because I didn’t want to make people feel bad and I also didn’t like the idea of delivering the bad news. 

Then we realized that there is a big difference between criticism and feedback. 

Criticism is about making someone wrong. 

Feedback is about making someone better.

That is the key difference. 

Criticism is about making someone wrong. Feedback is about making someone better. 

Don’t think of it as conflict. 

Think of it as coaching; think of it as instruction. 

Feedback is facts. 

There’s no added explanation. There’s no overdrawn motivation. There’s no exaggeration. It’s just feedback. 

It’s delivering facts right back to us.

If you give people irrefutable facts, they will often take indisputable action.  

If you can just point out the facts of what has happened, you are going to be much better off. 

This is really important. 

Coaching for Success

We have to become good coaches, just like we have to learn to inspire and breathe life into them. 

We also have to provide the correction. That is a really important part of what we do as leaders.   

Feedback is a gift when it’s done, right? Feedback is truly a gift. 

This is really, really important.  

If I don’t know that I’m doing something wrong, then I can never get better.

Which means it’s going to hold me back in my career.  

When someone gives me instruction, it helps me.

The reason people do it wrong is that it becomes more about who’s in charge and who’s right and who’s wrong. 

And these are emotions. 

Your job is to just course-correct these behaviors without emotion, with feedback.

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