Effective leaders know how to give direct, negative feedback without offending their employees.
This was the key leadership lesson that Val DiFebo, the chief executive of advertising agency Deutsch NY, learned from her mentor Donny Deutsch.
“He might say, ‘This doesn’t make any sense at all,’ but it was never a judgment on your skills or your intellect,” DiFebo tells Adam Bryant at The New York Times. “It’s just a reaction to the work you put in front of him.”
DiFebo says that Deutsch would often come by later to seek advice from the same employees he had disagreed with earlier. This was mainly to reinforce that he believed in their abilities.
“[At Deutsch NY] people say: ‘We’re front-stabbers, not back-stabbers.’ That works really well for us, because when you have a problem with someone you just say: ‘Look, this is the issue I have. I can get past it, but what are you going to do to get past it?’ ” says DiFebo, adding that being direct and straightforward saves everyone time in the end.
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