2016 will be 15 years that I’ve lived on the West Coast (gasp!), yet I still think of myself as a New Yorker.
Why? Because I am still that person who enters a room and says what she thinks.
I am that person who will tell you your fly is open, there is toilet paper on your shoe and oh yeah, people are talking about you and you should probably get your act together.
I tell it like it is and luckily for me, my coaching clients seek me out because I will call them on their B.S. and refuse to let them hide behind their excuses.
So, when I heard that companies are beginning to talk about “Frontstabbing” and “fierce conversation” all I could think was, “Oh, really now!?”
It seems that smiling to a person’s face but speaking ill of them behind their back is now considered wrong. What a radical thought!
We’ve all been there. We’ve sat in meetings where a coworker or presenter was saying things that made no sense, but no one stepped up to correct him for fear of being labeled negative or a hater. We know that if you don’t have anything nice to say you shouldn’t say anything at all, right?
But now we should?
Well, I believe that we always should have.
I attended a DisruptHR event where Sabrina Baker gave a great talk called “Use Your F*&^ing Words” and she recounted the tale of Sheryl Sandberg giving feedback to an employee who had just given a presentation. She tried to step around the issue by simply saying, “You said 'um' a lot.” But after the feedback was continually ignored, in the end, she told her, “When you say 'um' every third word, it makes you sound stupid.”
Blunt? Maybe. Necessary? Definitely!
So how do you give constructive feedback?
First, check yourself and make sure you’re not actually hating. If the only reason you don’t like what someone is saying is because they said it first, you should probably stay silent.
But if you’re ready to take on a role that is more mentorship and accountability than envy and negativity, you need to come from a place of sincerity. Let the recipient of your feedback know that you truly mean well and want to see them succeed.
If you truly want to lead, you have to have the courage to actually do it. And sometimes, that means looking someone in the eye and telling them they sound stupid.
Got a tale of a time you gave someone much needed feedback? Tell us how that went in the comments.