Hurt Feelings or Growth Opportunity
I was recently talking with the CEO of a services company with 24 employees and $5+ million in revenues.
She wanted to have a difficult performance-related discussion with a member of her team and she was looking for a way not to hurt the person’s feelings.
That’s a noble goal but not necessarily the most important one. The problem with worrying about peoples’ feelings is that it can cause us to lower our standards. And in the end, people are responsible for their own feelings.
When someone is not performing up to standard or, worse yet, is toxic to the culture, it challenges us to decide if feelings are more important than having the best performing team on the “field.”
Yes, there are gracious and kind ways of bringing things up, and that approach should always be used. But if an employee is offended or hurt by the gently-presented truth, then that’s on them.
Candor is something we should all embrace and, frankly, performance feedback is something that people with confidence and a yearning to improve want to hear. And isn’t that the kind of player we want on the team.
So the lesson for us all is: don’t let someone who doesn’t want to hear the truth and grow from it lower our standards for the whole company. Let’s remember, we’re presumably on a mission to be and do our best individually and as a team. So let’s stick with the program.