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How comfortable are you with giving critical feedback?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How comfortable are you with giving critical feedback?

  • Very — I have no problem delivering tough messages: 26%
  • Mostly — I’m good at it except in a few situations: 49%
  • Not very — I find it tough to deliver critical feedback: 22%
  • Not at all — I struggle with delivering tough messages: 3%

Tough messages are tough. The majority of you are okay with delivering critical feedback which is great. The question is whether that feedback is well received or effective at changing behavior. By using a feedback model that separates fact and emotion, you can more effectively deal with observable behaviors and what needs to change rather than entering an emotionally heated exchange. Focus on the actual events and make sure you’re asking for a clear behavior change. When you do so, the odds of seeing the changes you desire go up tremendously and you keep your relationship with the feedback recipient intact.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box,” and “The Elegant Pitch.”