I love the saying “The outcome of a rain dance is completely dependent on the timing”. Meaning that you will get rain if you time your rain dance with when it is suppose to rain.
Getting results to a tough message is much like a rain dance–the results are very dependent on the timing. Most people will accept feedback if it is accompanied by the following: 1. Trust in you, 2. Faith that you are giving an unbiased fair version and 3. Believe that you have their best interest at heart.
To get the best results you need to have all three factors so the listener will suspend their doubt an truly take in the message you are saying. If you only have two of the three, the listener will weigh what you are saying but may not take it to heart and make changes.
This is why you could have a best friend and a co-worker you don’t like tell you the same thing about you and one you believe while the other you feel is being spiteful.
As a leader you are constantly being asked to give feedback to those that work under you. Make sure, like the rain dance, that you have good timing so the feedback can be taken in the context it should be.
Need to know what to say? Share a situation in the comments and I will offer some ideas on how to handle it as well as other readers will offer insights.