Giving Feedback; How To Be Honest Without Being Hurtful
Cheryl Chester
July 15, 2020

Cheryl Chester talked with Authority Magazine about leadership and the role that feedback plays in being an effective leader.

Can you briefly tell our readers about your experience with managing a team and giving feedback?

I have managed teams for most of my career and have found that, if you are skilled at coaching and feedback, employees are eager to engage in discussions with you about their performance and development.

This might seem intuitive but it will be constructive to spell it out. Can you share with us a few reasons why giving honest and direct feedback is essential to being an effective leader?

I feel that the ultimate success for a leader is in the development of his/her team so that each is experienced as key talent to be acknowledged and retained. This only occurs when the leader has committed to a culture of continuous feedback and coaching.

One of the trickiest parts of managing a team is giving honest feedback, in a way that doesn’t come across as too harsh. Can you please share with us five suggestions about how to best give constructive criticism to a remote employee? Kindly share a story or example for each.

Before I do, let me respond to the term “constructive criticism”. I believe there is no such thing. If your intent is criticism, it will never be experienced as constructive! If your intent is specific feedback meant to further increase the employee’s self-awareness and development, then following are my suggestions:

  1. Only share specific, fact-based feedback.
  2. Prepare your employee for the feedback by scheduled a meeting for this purpose and ask that he/she come prepared to address the specific performance.
  3. Begin by asking for the employee’s feedback on his/her own performance.
  4. Provide your feedback in the spirit of collaboration with an employee.
  5. Establish an agreement with the employee on his/her actions to further address the discussed performance.
Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson



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