I worked with a client recently struggling with giving his employees feedback; he’d give it, but they didn’t seem to take it or make any shifts that indicated they were absorbing it.
I worked with someone recently who was struggling with giving his employees feedback; he’d give it, but they didn’t seem to take it or make any shifts that indicated they were absorbing it.
When I asked him to role play a current scenario, with me acting as his employee, he gave me the feedback. It felt “lacking” — like I wasn’t getting all of it, it also felt a bit condescending.
Great, we had two very easily addressable issues to play with.
“George,” (not his real name) I asked, “Is that the true feedback? Is that what you really want me to know?”
“Well, no, I actually have this feedback, XYZ, but it feels too sharp and I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”
Great, bingo — we have opportunity number one.
“Okay, now George, give me the feedback directly in the way you really want me to hear it.”
He gave it to me. It was rough. Even though this feedback wasn’t meant for me, I felt contraction even role playing it.
Great, bingo — opportunity number two.
“Okay, now… What is your intention for giving this feedback? What’s important about it for me? How do you want me to feel hearing it? How do you want me to receive it? What is my littlest next step to apply it?”
We dug in.
His intention was to help me grow; he saw me going off a cliff that would be hard to recover from if I didn’t change a behavior — so he wanted to support me.
He wanted me to feel supported, cared about, and championed.
He wanted me to receive it like he was in my corner; not making me wrong, but rather showing up as a partner to set the situation right.
And he had two simple next steps for me that I could connect with and apply instantly. He named them. Now it didn’t seem scary or ambiguous, it felt tangible and actionable.
His intention was service. 100%. There was no ill-intent in his feedback. (There rarely is.)
However, the way he gave it originally came first from the energy of “careful,” and then from the energy of “saving” or “taking care of” me.
People won’t receive your feedback or support fully, sustainably, or powerfully if you aren’t honest or if you hold the energetic presence of saving, rescuing, or taking care of them.
Just feel into that for a minute.
After all, how do YOU like it when someone is “saving,” “rescuing,” or “taking care of” you? Probably not as powerful, capable, and bought in as you would if you felt someone was supporting, serving, or even helping you step up to your next level.
Withholding feedback or “taking care” of people in the way we give it, is a Band-Aid; it will come up again. Giving direct honest clean feedback that champions and serves and is done with love, is an accelerant; real absorption, integration, and change can occur.
Our intentions, energy, and presence (our IEP) in the words we say and things we do are like food coloring in water — you can’t take them out of the "water" and they have very colorful impact. The brightness and life-giving nature of that color is up to you. You set the tone.
We can have challenging conversations, do hard things, and give great REAL feedback when it is clean, complete, thoughtful, and coming from the energetic intention and presence of championing, serving, and even helping if that is what feels most honoring of the situation.
Try on the energy of these words:
Rescue // Take care of // Help // Support // Serve
Each has a different energetic vibration.
Which would you prefer to be led with? Which do you choose to lead with?
What energetic intention will you hold when leading others?
Choose with intent.