Planning and undertaking a feedback conversation is a big investment of time and effort on your behalf as a manager. Unfortunately, many managers waste all that well meant effort by feeding back on the first issues that come to mind rather than identifying the key underlying issue.

For example, I was in discussion with a participant at a workshop when she said ‘It won’t make any difference what I say as everything I say goes in one ear and then out the other!’

In this case she was preparing a conversation on the wrong issue – the conversation should not be around the quality of this individual’s work but around the fact that ‘everything said appears to go in one ear and straight out the other’. It is not until this KEY issue is resolved that anything else can be successfully tackled.

Stripping away the layers to find the key issue takes thinking about – but it is time well spent. It means that the conversation you undertake will stand a much better chance of creating a significant improvement in an individual’s performance. After all, once an individual learns to truly ‘hear’ what is being said to them then there will be a much greater likelihood of future feedback being acted upon.

The test is always to check ‘If this feedback is acted upon and the identified issue resolved – will they then become an effective employee?’ If the answer is no, it indicates that you need to think again. Finding the key issue can sometimes be harder than it first appears but is always worth the effort.

If you would like some support in thinking your conversation though then contact us  – we are able to provide you with effective delayering to unearth the key issues!

To find out how Converse Well can help you turn difficult feedback situations into opportunities to motivate and engage your staff, call 020 8870 9036 or 07734 944 515 or email