A quality many successful construction leaders share is that they are masters at having difficult conversations. They know how and when to give feedback to their employees, as well as how and when to ask for feedback in return. Whether it’s letting a team member go or informing someone that they will not be receiving a promotion, it’s important to keep these tough discussions productive. Here are some tips for having difficult discussions at work including how to give and receive feedback.

Advice for Providing Feedback

Planning and practicing a conversation opener is a great place to start. Focus on keeping feedback behavioral, business-focused, and timely. Timeliness is essential because the value of constructive criticism declines significantly every day that it’s delayed and runs the risk of becoming stale. Avoid providing feedback when there is too much tension between management and employees. Annual performance reviews should include actions that took place during all twelve months, not just good or bad things that you witnessed recently. Some additional strategies include:

  • Request employee self-assessments. Ask employees what goals they accomplished along with areas they can improve upon.
  • Choose a neutral, private setting. Avoid embarrassing employees with open-office discussions.
  • Anticipate a reaction. Although anger or crying are normal responses to stress, it can still be challenging to contain at times. Be empathetic, but stay focused on providing constructive feedback to change any unwanted behaviors.
  • Be direct and specific. Dive directly into any critiques instead of dancing around them. Don’t sandwich negative feedback between compliments because it will only create more confusion.

Suggestions for Receiving Feedback

Construction leaders should also be open to receiving feedback and constructive criticism from their team. You may disagree with feedback, yet still have an open mind. and be open to change. It shouldn’t be a one-way discussion either way, and even difficult discussions can have positive outcomes if you’re open to constructive criticism. Don’t hesitate to ask questions for clarification if something doesn’t make sense. It’s perfectly acceptable to request more tools and support to do your job better. Finally, always view feedback as a gift that you can leverage to improve your teams cohesion and productivity. Something that separates successful leaders from those who are average is that they are always improving their skills.

When it comes to effective leadership, it’s important ensure that difficult conversations are meaningful experiences that promote further development. Learning to have challenging discussions with your team builds trust and leads to better collaboration and productivity down the line.


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