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How good are you at giving difficult feedback promptly?

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How good are you at giving difficult feedback promptly?

  • Great — I share difficult feedback immediately: 21.53%
  • OK — I give tough feedback with some hesitation: 60.76%
  • Not good — I struggle with giving tough feedback: 16.64%
  • Poor — I rarely share difficult feedback: 1.07%

Prompt feedback matters. You should never hesitate to give tough feedback promptly. Not doing so is a failure of leadership. You’re not only letting that individual down — you’re letting down the rest of the team too. Invariably they see the person’s shortcomings and they wonder why the boss isn’t taking corrective action. It’s a slippery morale slope from there. Not giving tough feedback promptly can lead to disastrous results and damage your credibility as a leader. That failure also impairs your team’s overall performance. So swallow hard and go deliver the tough messages — it’s much easier to do than you might think.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS and author of “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”