Sharing thoughts and learnings

Feedback vs idiot compassion: how to start difficult conversations

How many times we prefer to shut up or stay silent in order to avoid conflict or the risk of hurting someone with our comments? Probably too many.

You can have a great working environment and achieve nothing. Everyone says nice things, and people like harmony in the team, so why to introduce a disonant note by telling someone you believe there was a mistake in his work last week?

Some bosses are simply not good at telling you why you don’t get promoted or what you could improve. These days of fierce competition they are not doing you any favour. Would be much better for your career to have someone that drives you to become better than just smiles and correct your mistakes without saying nothing. Same applies for team mates and I would also say friends.

Long ago I understood “idiot compassion” is way harmful and does not really show we care. Avoiding difficult conversations because we fear the reaction of other people and we are unable to hold the space for constructive conflict will only delay our growth and capacity to create true connections.

So I love feedback sessions… retrospectives and team meetings in which you evaluate the past. It is a great opportunity to care for each other for real. You don’t share just opinions or whatever comes to your mind. That is not feedback. Feedback is about sharing what you have observed and the consequences that behaviour has on yourself, your feelings and also the effect on your own behaviour. So instead of saying something like “you are unpunctual and I cannot work with you”, a real feedback would be more like “I noticed you have been 15 minutes late in the last 3 meetings and I feel a bit frustrated because I have prepared in advance and you don’t say you are sorry, so I would like to understand what is going on”.

Of course, starting this type of conversation requires courage, because we might find out real insights by sharing feelings and we might discover that we are part of the problem! That is why we really need to start talking with curiosity and open mind. The wise compassion is about sharing your truth and holding space for the other to share its own.

Really willing to know your experience doing retrospectives and discussing what does not go so well…