As a leader, after giving tough feedback, do you avoid or reconnect with your staff member?
Hearing that your performance is lacking in some way or that you've made a mistake can be harsh, even alienating. That's why as a leader, you need be thoughtful when delivering difficult feedback to your staff. You probably know to do two things: first, articulate what your employee is doing well, and second, provide input on problematic behaviors or gaps in performance. But don't forget an important third step: reconnect. After hearing difficult input, a staff member may avoid you or feel s/he can't come to you for advice. Equally, you may feel ill-at-ease and unintentionally avoid the person. Reestablish your relationship and reiterate what you value most. Highlight something you can compliment - the person's writing skills or thank him/her for asking tough questions during meetings. You can also check in on a personal matter: Ask, "How was your daughter's play?" or, "Did your wife hear back about that new job lead?" Do this at the end of the feedback session or wait until the next day. Just be sure to connect so s/he is comfortable continuing the relationship with you. You can help a colleague improve their performance and maintain their dignity at the same time.
Adapted from Guide to Giving Effective Feedback (HBR OnPoint Collection).