It’s no surprise that most managers—over 68% in a recent study—fear communicating difficult feedback. We know, though, that people thrive on feedback, especially high achievers. Everyone likes to know where they stand.
When you’re giving the feedback, be present, be direct but kind, and use specific examples. Acknowledge how hard some things are to hear and reiterate your hopes for the person so they understand that you are on their side. By doing so, you’ve opened a release valve for their emotions.
Most importantly, follow up later so that afterthoughts don’t create distance. Imagined slights are toxic.