The Art of Delivering Feedback is Hardly an “Art” at All

That often-heard acronym, KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid), is very relevant to how we think about feedback. Many times, we feel like we need to provide feedback or compliments or critiques so eloquent that they belong on a Hallmark card. We assume these statements must be perfect. And if we can’t hit that mark, we freeze and abort the effort, saying “I’ll wait to refine my message….make it pretty…..worthy of a big stage….THEN I’ll deliver this little nugget of goodness.”

Sometimes this self-consciousness about how we provide such insight gets in the way of our providing it at all and, as leaders, it’s critical that we have this discourse with our associates. We need to remember: What’s important isn’t the flash of the presentation, but the sincerity behind the message.

I’ll never forget the Thanksgiving Day text message I received from a physician-client a few years back.

Uh-oh. That would normally mean something had gone awry with the project, right?

This wasn’t the case. The text message read, loosely: “Happy Thanksgiving. I wanted to tell you how priceless your time is to us, and please tell Wes [translation: my husband] how grateful we are for his sacrifice and being a part of this process.

Some people might say that a text message of this kind is impersonal and tacky. But I was taken aback … in a completely positive way. Not only was I top of mind on a busy day when so many families are truly giving thanks, but also this individual was so thoughtful as to recognize my husband for everything he had contributed. And, yes, he had sacrificed significantly – having to carry the load in so many ways as a huge project came to a close for this client. The significant others in our lives, and their invaluable (albeit also involuntary) involvement in these projects, often goes unnoticed. The mere fact that she recognized his role in this big undertaking was so kind, and I think of her message often.

It was just a simple text message. But the message meant the world.

So don’t over-think the feedback. There is no wrong way to deliver the message; what IS wrong is the lack of delivering the message.

Be brief.

Be casual.

Be genuine.

Just make it happen!!



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