Updated: Aug 14, 2021
Leaders need to be conscious of the weight their words carry. Especially when thinking about giving 'feedback'.
Have you been in a meeting where mics have been too close and there’s a horrible, high-pitched screeching feedback sound? I have! And what was the first thing that I did as soon as I heard it? Almost automatically? Covered my ears with my hands so I wouldn’t have to hear it! It really hurt my ears!
It also made me think about the other kind of ‘feedback’. The kind where we get (or give) others our opinion about something. Usually about something they did, or said, and what we thought about how it could have been done, or said, better. And what I’ve been thinking lately, that just like the first kind of feedback, the second kind of feedback often hurts people’s ears, and, even worse, hurts their heart. Especially when it comes from a leader who the person admires, or who is in a position of power over them. And, like the first kind of 'feedback', people work to lessen that hurt by putting their hands over their ears and not listening, so they can protect their heart!
Feedback can hurt people's ears...and their hearts. Be kind and mindful before giving someone your 'feedback'.
So today, if you’re in a leadership position, thinking about giving feedback to someone, your opinion, something that starts with “You should (or shouldn’t) have done this in this way…” try instead asking the person for their thoughts and feelings about the situation first. And if it’s okay with them to share yours. Be kind, and mindful, that as a leader, your words can encourage and help, or like that horrible, screeching feedback sound, can really hurt!