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Are You Overthinking Giving Feedback? One question to ask yourself when you’re debating whether or not you should “say something?”

I needed to give some feedback to a good friend and colleague.

She was frustrated about the way a few collaborative projects had turned out.  She’s an incredible person, consistently supporting others.  More often than not, though,  she’s highlighting someone else’s work in conversations. That’s a good thing to do… and it means she’s missing opportunities to highlight her work.

So, I told her I wanted to see her advocate for her business like she does for other people.

It stung, but I’m glad you said it,” she told me afterward.

It wasn’t what she wanted to hear; it was what she needed to hear.

If you’re like me, giving feedback is part of your job, and it can be challenging to decide when to give it or not.

You ask yourself questions like;

Should I give it?

When do I give it?

How do I say it?

(remember the “sandwich approach”?)

You try to follow the three-part rule;

Is it true?  

Is it kind?  

Is it necessary? 

You worry that you’ll hurt someone’s feelings, that you’ll say it wrong, or that your timing will be off.

Or…

You say to yourself

“it’s not my place.”

“it won’t change anything anyway.”

or “it’d be better coming from someone else.”

You end up not saying something, or saying it too late because you’re stuck overthinking feedback.

It’s easy to get stuck here.

It’s also easier than you might think to get unstuck.

What do I do when I find myself overthinking feedback?

I ask myself one straightforward question;

“Do I care enough about the person to say what needs to be said?” 

That’s it.

If the answer is yes, then I tell them.

It works for simple things like “you’ve got mustard on your tie” and difficult topics like “when you only talk about yourself, it turns people off.”

The people that you work and share life with are counting on your feedback.  More often than not, they need it sooner rather than later.

The next time you find yourself overthinking whether or not to give feedback, ask yourself if you care enough about the person to say what needs to be said…then say it.

 

PS

How do you decide when to give or not give feedback? Drop your answer in the comments below!

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