December 2011: Honest feedback is a gift.

Many of us overlook a powerful management and relationship tool that is always at our disposal:  feedback. 

Effectively delivered, feedback serves as a vital barometer that helps people understand how they’re doing and the impact of their behavior on others.  Timely feedback can be a factor in helping someone succeed or derail, and keeping relationships healthy.  Even the most self-aware people benefit from knowing how their work and behaviors are perceived by others.  We all have blind spots and the only way to overcome them is through honest conversation.

Both positive and critical feedback are valuable.  Many people avoid this type of communication because they feel uncomfortable delivering it, or they think the recipient already knows.  Remember:  feedback is a gift and can have a profound impact on a person.  During this season of gift-giving and receiving, consider how you can give better – and more frequent – feedback to others.  And, ask yourself if you’re openly encouraging feedback from those around you.