Giving difficult feedback is a critical leadership competency and is essential to effective coaching, but it isn't always easy.
If you are worried about giving difficult feedback, pinpoint the source of your worry. Is it fear of conflict, inexperience, or concern about damaging the relationship? Simply identifying your feelings can make it easier to overcome them. Set realistic expectations for yourself and how delivering the feedback will go. Don’t expect perfection. Everyone makes mistakes at first.
Start by declaring your intent before delivering the feedback. Say something to the effect of "This might be an uncomfortable conversation, but I want to help and see you improve." From there, proceed with empathy and courage. Understand that it might be uncomfortable for your direct report, but it is better to have the correction made rather than face serious consequences.
Giving difficult feedback is hard. Just remember, the more you do it, the easier it will get.
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