During my professional career I had met many managers - some of them were good, some were pretty bad, some are still a question mark for me, but if you asked me about something the most common ("denominator"), there’d be only one response: 95% of them had a problem with giving honest feedback.
I could write a lot about that (actually I think I did somewhen in the past):
- about the need for continuous feedback (instead of once-per-year corporate lunch …)
- about bidirectional feedbacks (as this is, how it’s supposed to be)
- about clear targets (set in advance), opportunity for self-assessment, etc.
but to keep this note short, I’ll just focus on one BIG point - JUST GIVE THE DAMNED FEEDBACK FFS!
Regardless of how poor particular individual is performing, (s)he deserves to be told that - straight and without excuse. How is (s)he supposed to get better if the only measure of performance is the guts’ feeling? Even if you want to get rid of someone, be honest enough to give him a real reason - some do not take it lightly, but in the end, they may grow up with time to embrace the facts.
Surely, it’s not comfortable:
- It may cause the conflict and hostility
- It may be a source of personal discomfort (for both sides)
- It may reveal that at least part of the failure was caused by yourself
- It may temporarily demotivate the individual
but it’s a crucial element of learning process - for both sides: feedback receiver learns something to improve his work, feedback giver learns something about receiver - does (s)he understand what he’s supposed to do, what’s expected of her/him and is (s)he able to learn from own mistakes.