Fairly often people say to me "I am afraid to give any feedback anymore" or "Our employees cannot take feedback - they don't want it!".
While it may feel like one or both of those statements is what you are thinking or living, those statements are polarizing, and they will not advance relationships and/or businesses.
Instead of thinking about the negative side of feedback, please think about the positive side of it, and how feedback delivered properly, and therefore, received well, can build self-esteem.
We often talk about, focus on, and encourage/demand self-confidence, yet self-confidence is circumstantial, where self-esteem is at someone's core. For example, I have high self-esteem, belief in my ability to understand, present well, learn, and grow. That does not go away. I have high self-confidence in speaking, coaching, golfing, and hosting events because, in those environments, I have the exposure, the experience, and the expertise that provide me with many ways to contribute.
The realities related to self-esteem and self-confidence are many, and two of them are that self-esteem is something we can coach to about a person, and self-confidence is gained by layering it on circumstantially, specifically, on top of self-esteem. So, giving feedback is key to raising self-esteem, and eventually, self-confidence for most people.
An approach to providing feedback to build self-esteem is to follow these steps/approaches:
1) Be clear that your idea-sharing is feedback to move forward.
2) Share that your ideas are coaching, not criticism.
3) Ensure that feedback is a loop and not only 1-way.
4) Ask and respect how each person with whom you are engaging prefers feedback: in writing, in-person, immediately, at scheduled times.
5) Learn the type of coaching each person seeks: written to understand on their own, shown & left to their own ways to practice, shown, then they do it, or working on it collaboratively start-to-finish.
6) State a goal for a coaching and/or feedback session with the person receiving the coaching and/or feedback.
7) Importantly, close out the session by asking and hearing how the person feels, thinks, and wants to move forward.
This type of feedback is the way to build self-esteem for the person, which then can be a foundation for building self-confidence in situations and in areas of experience. And, when we focus on self-esteem, the whole person is included, and that is what/who we bring to each relationship and work assignment, after all!