Is feedback a good deed?

A while ago I was doing a telco with participants literally spread across the globe. It was relating to some new marketing procedures and the buy-in was good from all except one. This guy kept asking questions that everybody else knew and that was clearly laid out in the documentation mailed out prior to our meeting. After wasting a half hour of everybody’s time, I realize that all the questions he was asking was printed on the next page than the one he was looking at. He clearly had not read it beforehand. I whispered my theory to the meeting leader on our side and he decided to end the meeting with the words that he would explain the procedure to the not-reader later (he didn’t call him that though).

We had a chat about it afterwards and I was told the guy was a real asset and great at his job, so you just had to live with him not always reading stuff before meetings. Hmm… Have anybody actually explained to him that he is wasting a lot of other people’s time when not being prepared for a meeting?

Because even if this guy gets upset or mad or finds excuses if confronted with his behavior, not confronting is potentially worse. Why? Because if he does not change his behavior he will slowly but steadily build up animosity in this organization, and that might in time hinder his career prospects.

I believe you should always ask people if they want feedback, but it can be hard to do. Especially when you think they’ll take it badly. But refusing upfront to try? That surely is a bad deed!

So I ask you, dear reader, is giving feedback, even to a person not asking for it, a good deed? Is it imperative?

Have a nice day. I am happy you took the time to read this.

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