Chapter 4 Understanding the ‘real truth’

I have learned two very important techniques over the years when delivering feedback. First, the content needs to be delivered with facts — not your opinions or feelings (which are often the damaging pieces). Second, it is not what you say but how you say it that can make the difference. The difference between something said in frustration and with accusation, versus the same thing said tentatively and with compassion, is enormous.

In this chapter we examine the importance of presenting the real facts without the loaded opinion.

Honesty versus verbal assassination

Do you stand behind ‘I'm just being honest’ as an excuse to verbally assassinate someone? Have you seen others do this? Have you been on the receiving end? Unfortunately, you are likely to answer yes to at least one of these questions.

You're in a performance review and your manager tells you that a couple of your colleagues think your ego walks in the door two hours before you do. It's okay though, because he's ‘just being honest’.

You're having a discussion with a colleague and she raises her voice, points her finger and lets you know that ‘you should keep your mouth shut unless someone asks for your opinion’. It's okay though, because she's ‘just being honest’.

Then there's this one, one of my favourites, which happened to a good friend of mine. He had just finished a finely tuned speech that he had been preparing for weeks and someone he knew came up to him after and ...

Get Fixing Feedback now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.