For many of us, “feedback” is a dirty word that we associate with painful conversations, bias, politics, resentment, and self-doubt. Feedback certainly has a branding problem — a negative reputation we’ve collectively built one lousy experience at a time. It isn’t that we all set out with bad intentions; some of the worst experiences frequently arise out of a genuine desire to do the right thing by providing honest feedback to improve performance. However, many of us never learned how to wield the true positive power of feedback. Instead, we rely on old counter-productive models: saving feedback up and then heaping a big load of it on an unsuspecting employee, smashing tough feedback between two bits of disingenuous compliments, or relying on brutal frankness, to name just a few. These approaches most certainly are not very helpful.
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