A team member, working on a project with me years ago, had seen me give feedback to others. She noticed that I always pointed out ‘the positives’ before getting to what needed improvement, and especially so if the critique took place in a group-setting.
One day, she told me: “If you ever have to give me feedback, just get to the bad stuff first. Please don’t spend a lot of time telling me what’s great: it’s the bad stuff I need to know about.”
So there came a time when I had to identify a few things she needed to improve. I respectfully pointed them out, specifically and without identifying the positives upfront.
It meant I’d compromised my own leadership principles to give her what she’d said she wanted.
But she felt deeply hurt.
Praise matters. Everyone I’ve ever met wants to know what they’ve done well. The…
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