“Fix my people!” I hear it all the time from business owners. “They don’t meet their commitments.” “Do I have to keep telling them over and over again?” It is much easier to look outside of yourself for the cause of the problem. In addition, most managers haven’t been given the tools for the important “managing up” conversations. Blind spots prevail, the victim mentality grows and micromanaging becomes rampant. There is a deep sense of collusion between those that are holding back on what needs to be shared and those that are having their perspectives reinforced by what they are able to observe (with their blinders on).

How would I know what you are experiencing if you don’t tell me? I think that I am being clear and you are walking away with a complete lack of clarity. It is hard for me to hear the words I am using through your filters unless you tell me. We make a lot of assumptions in our daily communications. Many times our intentions are misunderstood. Our body language is misinterpreted. Our requests are failing to be met with a clear promise of execution.

We can close the loop on our contribution to what we are experiencing by asking for honest unfiltered feedback. This will raise the veil on our blind spots and allow us to be part of the solution and not a unaware contributor to the problem. We can do the same for others. How will they know about the impact they are having if we don’t tell them? These can be difficult conversations, but they also are the conversations of breakthroughs and sustainable shifts in behavior.

Feedback is a cure for most communication breakdowns. It allows us to bridge the intention vs. impact gaps that occur all day long.

Call it out when you are being triggered or shutdown by someone’s verbal and non-verbal cues.

Here are some simple rules for providing feedback…

  • Be Prepared and Specific: The more important the feedback the more prepared you need to be…don’t do it in a “fly by” conversation
  • Be in “I” statement mode: Starting with “you” will shut down the listening and create defensiveness
  • Be Balanced – Developmental/Positive: It can’t always be negative; you also need to reinforce the good behaviors
  • Be Thoughtful & Non-Judgmental: Speak from your heart and leave judgment behind; this is an opportunity to show you care
  • Be Focused on the Feedback: Don’t meander from the specific intentions of this feedback conversation; the message will get lost
  • Be an Active Listener: Give the person a chance to respond and check for understanding


If you need to role play your feedback conversation please contact us.