Be Reluctant to Offer Delicate Feedback
Getting others to ask for feedback that will likely sting seems like an impossible task. This is especially true when the person in question is unaware of the criticism, or when the information will be viewed as delicate or sensitive. Letting team members know we have important feedback but are reluctant to share it is a bridge over this troubled water.
When we tell others how hesitant we are to share feedback, they become inquisitive and ask to hear it. When we reiterate our reluctance to provide it, they will insist to know. What a curious reversal of roles!
Better yet, when others invite the feedback, they respond differently to it. No matter how much it might STING, the fact that you were inclined not to share it unless asked creates a different reaction. If the feedback is important, they will thank the provider for the willingness to raise and share it.
The key to this approach, like so many others, is to be authentic. If the information is truly important but potentially hurtful, why wouldn’t you be reluctant to offer it? If your hesitation to disclose the criticism is real, you will have no problem doing so. True reservation doesn’t submit too quickly, so be sure to express your doubts about sharing the feedback more than once, if you can.
When others invite you to share delicate feedback, they usually believe you are willing to do so because you want to help them, as opposed to hurt them. This reframes the episode in a good way, allowing both parties to collaborate about the implications of the feedback. Being reluctant to offer delicate feedback is an effective way to get it on the table. People always have an appetite to know what others are hesitant to say.