Love Means Honesty and Candor—Not Brutality

Chapter 5 Pg’s 133-134 Lead With Love By Gerry Czarnecki

Love Means Honesty and Candor—Not Brutality Giving effective feedback is hard work, but taking it is too. Hearing negative words about our behavior or performance is painful. Consequently, when we are in a position to give feedback, we usually attempt to couch the words in the most appealing fashion we can.

If you have been exposed to any formal sales training, you were probably taught you should always deal with negatives in a sales situation by attempting to focus on the positives instead. You were also probably told you must make yourself communicate in a positive fashion in order to get a resistant buyer to buy. In this case, there is no doubt the recipient of constructive feedback in an evaluation session will be a “reluctant buyer.” Such training gives you all the more reason to walk carefully through the feedback minefield.

 However, providing candid and direct insight is better than trying to mask the truth and spare people the pain of confronting their weaknesses. Don’t give associates an excuse to argue that they did not hear what you said. However, in spite of the need to be forthright, there is no reason to be brutal. Statements like, “That was stupid,” are cruel and confrontational and will elicit a strong reaction. Saying, “You have failed,” may be truthful, but it may also be so devastating that the associate may simply not listen. Try statements like, “I think you have some areas that could be improved.” This approach shows you believe the associate can fix the problem and the short-term failure can be overcome. It provides hope that the feedback will constructively improve the performance. Your goal should be to clearly and directly communicate the constructive evaluation, but you must continue to take all actions based on love.

Andy Grove, in High Output Management, offers sound advice about delivering the assessment. “There are three Ls to keep in mind when delivering a review: Level, Listen, and Leave yourself out.” By “level” he means to be honest; by “listen” he means just that. “Leave yourself out” means try to avoid the bias of your own thinking.

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