People always say that giving feedback is hard. But I don’t think that’s true.
Feedback is a very important part of every relationship, from the bus driver at your children’s school, to your boss, to your subordinates. If you think of feedback as a thing done once a year, and as something that is a special moment, then you probably gear yourself up for it (both giver and receiver), and try to do it as well as possible. This does not lead to a congenial conversation that you both can learn from.
Think of feedback as a continuum. There is low level feedback (Could you make the heading bigger? You should have put that package here.); medium level feedback (I don’t conclude the same thing from your data as you do) and top level feedback (your approach to your job needs review). And as with any continuum there are shades of grey in between.
Relationships need tending, and they go downhill as soon as the communication stops. Often, people don’t know how to say “the bad things” to people, so they ignore giving the feedback – thinking that the truth will hurt.
The truth can hurt, if delivered like it is “the truth.” (You always… You never…) Delivered like an observation, like one or several data points with the assumption that other data points might be hidden from view, it has a different tone to it and can be less hurtful.
And if it is less hurtful, you will probably give it more frequently.
Look for more posts on giving feedback.