Why is it so tough to give constructive feedback? Is it because we’d rather be liked than be honest? Is it because we don’t want to be perceived as being judgmental or mean? Is it because it’s super uncomfortable to tell someone what you see that isn’t working. Personally, I’d rather congratulate, commend, and acknowledge but that’s the thing, feedback is not about me, its about the other person. So I force myself to sit in the discomfort of direct honest feedback because I really see that as the most caring thing that I can do.
When we fall short, when we don’t do what we say we are going to do and then we make excuses or come up with reasons for why, it’s easy to sell our story to most people. Most people will give us a pat on the back, affirm our excuses, or cheer us on to do a better job next time. I’ve learned from being held accountable for so many years that that may feel good in the moment but it doesn’t really help me in the long run. If I don’t keep my commitments and no one holds the line and works with me to figure out what really got in my way, what I’m really afraid of, or where I’m stuck, I can’t get the learning that I need. That’s why real constructive feedback is so important and why its a skill worth developing. It’s hard to see your own stuff, especially the patterns that aren’t serving you and the thoughts that keep you from getting to where you want to go. When I get really good constructive feedback all of a sudden it hits me, I get a new understanding of what I’ve been doing and why. In this new light my super valid and reasonable excuses can seem almost comical. It might be a little painful at first but I always end up grateful, and I respect the person more for being willing to tell me the truth.
How willing are you to give real meaningful feedback?