You are a strong performer, get good performance reviews, but aren’t aware of the blind spots holding you back. You wonder why your raises aren’t better.
You are struggling in your job and don’t know what to do about it. You are afraid of failing.
You like your actual job, but a coworker makes the environment less than desirable for everyone on the team, especially you. Your manager does nothing about it.
You were up for a big promotion and didn’t get it. You got a pep talk of “hopefully next time,” but you truly don’t understand why you didn’t get the promotion this time. You are wondering if you need to quit and go somewhere else. It is likely that you have been in one of these situations or know of someone in the workplace who has experienced a similar situation. Reflecting on these situations, perhaps honest and compassionate feedback was given, but there is a good chance it wasn’t. Maybe the feedback was given, but it wasn’t clear and direct. Maybe the feedback was given, but it was done in a lighthearted or jovial way and the message didn’t get across. For some reason, most of us aren’t comfortable letting others know how they can be better. We care more about not hurting their feelings than we do about helping them be more effective. To me, that just doesn’t make sense, especially for people in leadership roles, since a big part of being a leader is growing talent for the organization. Talents and skills of employees can be compared to those of athletes, and leaders in a way are like the coach. If a wide receiver starts having issues with frequently dropping the football, you better believe the coach is helping that athlete dissect the issue and look at the problem from all angles. The team can’t perform at its highest level if one of their wide receivers is dropping balls. It’s the same at work. If you are a leader and an employee is having any kind of performance issue, it is better to help them dissect it and engage them to help fix it, than it is to ignore it and hope it goes away. It likely won’t go away on its own, and the degree of ineffectiveness will only expand over time. We all need and deserve coaching from time to time. If the individual gets defensive when receiving feedback, that is an issue that also needs to be addressed. The best performers are curious about how they can be better. As a leader, you can model this by asking for feedback and taking it to heart. If you come across as perfect and lack humility, you will likely struggle more with giving others feedback. To be a world class giver of feedback, you must also be an effective receiver of feedback.
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