The Pros and Cons Of Feedback and Bluntness at Work


Benjamin Franklin said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” At the outset I should mention while his comment is correct I am not a fan of Ben Franklin. While he was busy improving the world he was hopelessly inept in applying virtue to his personal life. Which leaves me wondering, was it all worth it in the end.

The purpose of feedback or bluntness if you will must be to make an improvement in another. That being said, I have yet to find a leader who would not be better with more exact improvement in themselves. Thus, exact that feedback and bluntness which you would have exacted upon yourself. For the best way to change behavior in another is to first and foremost to change oneself ..dear leader.  Peter Drucker has a few ideas on moving people towards greater degrees of excellence. However, bear in mind that all things are moved by people. If you build high levels of trust and incorporate positive expectancy you will be amazed by how often employees will exceed your expectations.

“Peter Drucker believed strongly in giving people feedback, and, while he stressed the importance of good manners, he could at times be very direct himself. For instance, when Drucker was a professor of management at New York University in the 1950s and ’60s, he often received visits from jobless 45-year-olds who had been deemed unfit for further promotion in the U.S. Army. To assist these men, Drucker would pick up the phone on the spot, with the job seeker sitting right in front of him, and offer the potential employer a cool assessment of the candidate’s capabilities.

“The hardest thing of all, I found, was to be scrupulously honest about the applicant’s qualifications and disqualifications,” Drucker recalled in his memoir, Adventures of a Bystander. “Yet it was absolutely crucial. It is not easy to say in a man’s presence: ‘All he can do is set up a computer. Don’t use him for anything else’; or: ‘He works very well if you tell him exactly what to do. But don’t expect him to think or to use his imagination; he doesn’t have any.’ Yet one has to say it, or one immediately loses all faith and credit.”

Sometimes, Drucker had to be even blunter than that. As he wrote, “I also learned that once in a while I had to say to a man: ‘Yes, you should probably spend three years sitting on your backside to get an advanced degree; at least I cannot recommend you to a prospective employer.’” […]

Read full article via Brace Yourself: Why Being Blunt at Work Is a Virtue |

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Hire Jim Woods, speakers, leadership, consultant, hr, innovationJim is president of InnoThink Group and Leadership Matters.  He is a leader in workplace learning, productivity, performance, and leadership training solutions. For over 25 years, we have helped companies improve their performance, productivity, and bottom-line results.

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Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website

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