As important as it is for managers to give tough feedback, they also need to get it from employees. But that's easier said than done. Kim Scott, co-founder and CEO of Candor, offers ways to get the conversation going.
Have a go-to question
One of Scott's favorites: "Is there anything I could do or stop doing to make it easier to work with me?" It's important to have a question you feel comfortable asking. After you ask it, "count to six, keep your face neutral, and embrace the discomfort," she says, so the employee can actually tell you something useful. Let people know you'll come back to them if they can't think of anything in the moment--and do it.
Reward the criticism you get
When an employee (now her co-founder at Candor) told Scott that she interrupted him during meetings and that it undermined him, she agreed. At the next meeting, she showed up wearing a rubber band on her wrist and invited him and everyone else in the room to snap it if she interrupted them. "It showed him I heard the criticism and that I was working on it," says Scott.
Be slow to disagree
Not every bit of employee advice will be on point. When it's not, ask for time to consider it, "try to find some element you can agree with," and go back to the staffer with an explanation of your viewpoint, says Scott. "Then let him argue it again."