Hard Conversations and Feedback: A Dance, Not a Duel

The workplace is often characterized by productivity, collaboration, and at times, challenging conversations. It’s not uncommon for professionals to find themselves in situations where they must address issues that may be uncomfortable.

We recognize that these difficult conversations and feedback mechanisms are not only essential but integral to the workplace. Embracing these moments, even when they feel awkward, can serve as a catalyst for relational growth and foster an organizational culture that values open communication.

For leaders, the ability to navigate and master these challenging conversations is vital to the performance of individual employees and the overall success of the team. By exploring and practicing these conversations in a controlled environment, such as a classroom, leaders can acquire the necessary tools to handle these discussions with confidence and grace in the workplace. Over time, and with consistent practice, these conversations become more manageable and less daunting.

What we think you should know:

  • Feedback isn’t about pointing fingers or building walls around ourselves. It’s about constructing bridges of understanding. When done right, feedback fosters growth, collaboration, and a sense of “we’re in this together.” And who wouldn’t want to build a bridge with Bob? He’s a spreadsheet wizard, after all!
  • From a management perspective: Imagine a plant without water, sunlight, or nutrients. That’s an employee without feedback. Constructive criticism fuels growth, innovation, and creativity. Just don’t put it in a ‘feedback sandwich’, because that will likely leave the other person feeling confused and without direct understanding of the point you’re trying to make.
  • What’s a feedback sandwich?  It’s where you pay a compliment, provide constructive criticism, then add another compliment in.  While it may make you feel more kind (Because hey, you said TWO nice things), it muddy’s up the water for the receiver. 
  • Hard conversations aren’t a one-way street. It’s a dialogue, a tango if you will, where both parties listen, understand, and move in harmony. It’s not about who leads; it’s about moving together towards a common goal. 

Ignoring issues or sweeping them under the rug only leads to a room full of elephants. And trust us, that’s a crowded space! Addressing concerns head-on clears the air and makes room for productivity, innovation, and a lot fewer elephants.  We believe Brene Brown said it best:  Clear is kind.  And there’s no better way to be clear than providing critical feedback.

“Hard Conversations and Feedback” isn’t just a training program; it’s a philosophy, a way of life in the professional world. It’s about turning duels into dances, walls into bridges, and elephants into opportunities.

If this is a topic your leaders could use training on, reach out to us at The People Perspective to schedule a session for your team. We’ll equip you with the tools, techniques, and maybe even a few dance moves to make your workplace a stage for success. 

Written By: Annalisa Neal

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