Do you find it difficult or uncomfortable to give feedback? Surveys show that many leaders feel uncomfortable providing feedback to their employees and teams. In a recent Harris poll of those in leadership positions at companies and organizations, 69% said that they’re often uncomfortable communicating with and providing feedback to employees.

Surprised? Here are some more findings you may not expect:

—37% said they were reluctant to provide feedback if they thought the employee might respond unfavorably

—16% found it difficult to speak face-to-face employees, preferring e-mail interactions instead

Effective face-to-face communication can be difficult and uncomfortable. But in-person feedback is so important. That’s why it’s vital to give feedback regularly, in person. Don’t wait for something to go wrong before you provide it. And don’t wait for your employee to do something wrong for months before you correct them. Some leaders fall into the loop of providing only negative feedback. Or infrequent feedback. Instead, provide regular feedback — positive and if needed, negative — and make sure each time you do you listen to your employees and give them a chance to talk to you and ask questions. Make sure you’re not providing feedback only via e-mail. In-person feedback, early and often, is the cornerstone of effective leadership.

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