Feedback is the breakfast of champions. –Ken Blanchard
Today I spoke on a panel at the Society For Human Resource Management Conference (SHRM) on what a CEO wants from their HR team. We talked a lot about how an HR team needs to be more than just the group cutting payroll checks and enforcing compliance in the company – they need to be the team that really helps the CEO to set and uphold the company’s culture.
A big part of that is done through giving honest and open feedback to the CEO. But let’s face it, giving your CEO feedback can be a really intimidating thing to do when they are the ones who decide your paycheck. But that’s exactly what they need most from you in your job – your honest and open feedback!
CEO’s aren’t perfect, they are just normal people with strengths and weaknesses like everyone else. The only thing different about them is that they have a huge responsibility to shoulder, which is no small burden to bear. And when CEOs make mistakes they know everyone else suffers from them so what they want most is to get things right. But that can be hard to do when no one on their team is willing to help them know when they’re wrong….
I think we have all struggled at times to give honest and open feedback to someone else – it may be that we worry about hurting feelings, or we may worry about backlash or retaliation, or we may worry about damaging our relationship, and so on, but if we truly care about the other person then we’ll want to help them succeed. We owe it to them to tell them the truth in a way that doesn’t tear them down, but rather helps them to see how they can improve and get better.
Learning to give feedback in an honest, open, and respectful way is critically important – especially if you want to keep your job. But its worth the effort to learn how to give it the right way because the value you’ll bring to your CEO and the company overall is tremendous and any good leader will appreciate you for it.
Remember – Honesty can always be given if it is done with respect. Bad news can always be delivered if it is done with kindness. Uncomfortable feedback can always be shared if it is done with the intention of helping someone to improve.
So pour your boss a bowl of feedback for breakfast because that is what you feed to champions!!
~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the newly released book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )