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How well do you deliver difficult feedback?

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 well do you deliver difficult feedback?

  • Very well. It’s easy and people receive it well when I do.: 14.42%
  • Well. I struggle sometimes and it doesn’t always go perfectly.: 72.31%
  • Not well. I struggle with delivering it and it’s received poorly.: 9.42%
  • Poorly. I’m not at all good at it and I tend to avoid doing so.: 3.85%

Tough conversations are tough. Nobody likes delivering difficult messages. While several of you feel very comfortable doing it, the vast majority face some degree of struggle when sharing tough talk. The best advice I can give is do it early and often. Make it about the actions — not the person. If you wait to have the difficult conversation, it will only get harder to have as performance continues to deteriorate. If you’re objective, fair and don’t make it personal, the discussion will go better than you expect.

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