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Why Can’t They Just Read My Mind

Feedback Is A Gift

Why Can’t They Just Read My Mind

By: Ross Paterson

(Part 4 of our 4 part series on leadership in the SMB space)

Early in our 31-year marriage, my bride and I were struggling with communication around mostly small things. It turns out this two-joined-together-as-one from the marriage vows is easier to say than to do. At some point our tense conversation went something like this:

Ross: “I don’t know what you want.”

Shannon:  “I just want you to read my mind.”

Knowing this was most likely a trap, and what I said next really mattered, I delayed my response.

Ross: “I can’t do that, but if you just make me a list, I will work on it.”

Shannon’s list:

XM Truth: No one can read your mind. Learn how to give effective feedback.

In Part 3 of this series, we talked about ACCOUNTABILITY being the key to effective DELEGATION. We get leverage from accountability when we master effective FEEDBACK.

This situation plays out in small businesses every week.  Overwhelmed Owner (OO) ineffectively delegates work to her teammate. Teammate does their best and brings it back to the OO. It is not exactly what OO wanted, she says ‘Thanks,’ while errantly thinking it’s just easier if I do it myself. She finishes the task herself and gives eager-to-learn teammate zero feedback.

Next week the same assignment yields the same result. OO starts to emotionally disconnect from teammate, frustration builds. Teammate believes he is doing great work because he isn’t getting any feedback, he tells his wife how much he likes his job. The next week OO explodes in frustration; teammate looks for work on Indeed.

A very simple Situation-Behavior-Impact feedback conversation right after the first assignment would have prevented this whole scenario.


That doesn’t sound like a high conflict process, and it doesn’t have to be.


Download our Feedback 101 Checklist for leaders and managers.