“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” — Bill Gates

What does it feel like when you give someone constructive (i.e. negative) feedback? For me, I feel anxious, and would rather avoid the conversation. One way to alleviate this feeling is to speak on behalf of others. (e.g. “They think …” or “you have upset the team by …”)

Speaking on behalf of a group will help the anxiety you’re feeling when giving negative feedback. Unfortunately, doing this amounts to making an excuse for giving negative feedback. Despite feeling better, the excuse will lower the impact of your feedback.

Speak on behalf of yourself when giving constructive feedback. Use words like “I” and “me” to bring more validity to your thoughts. You’re more likely to have a richer conversation and inspire growth when you speak for yourself.

Invite the person to talk with the group about your feedback. Just don’t speak on on the group’s behalf.

You’ve got this.

Building Great Teams

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