Have you ever noticed when you put off challenging conversations you suffer?
One of the best principles I live my life by is to handle things promptly when they go wrong. Whether it’s family, work partners, teammates, employees, friends or the service professionals you encounter in life, the rule of thumb is 24 hours.
Whether it’s good news or corrective feedback, don’t wait.
When you wait, it has less impact, becomes less meaningful, is more challenging to deliver, and is less specific. People are hungry for positive feedback, give it to them. Make it specific and direct.
Regarding the more challenging and corrective conversations, your mind will work you over during the time you consider all the consequences of delivering the feedback – and usually you’ll expect it to go poorly (which is most often not the case).
When I conduct leadership trainings on more effective ways to gracefully work through the tough stuff, we hear three things consistently:
- Be direct, don’t hedge, tee up or sandwich the approach.
- Come from your heart, be honest and do it as soon after the event as possible for clarity.
- Be specific.
You’re doing no one any favors waiting, least of all you.