When you talk about things that can damage organizational productivity, there's plenty to talk about. Here's my short list:
2. Crappy training
3. Bad operational processes
4. Drinking on the job
Add the negative impact of all those things up, and I'd bet the cumulative impact doesn't touch one particular factor that sucks more productivity out of organizations than any other.
What's that factor? FEAR OF CONFRONTATION.
Fear of confrontation is pretty easy to describe. It's when you don't want to tell someone the truth or be direct, especially if you think the news won't be well-received, or will make someone feel bad about themselves.
You think by giving direct feedback that contains information that might be perceived as negative, you'll turn someone into an enemy. In an interesting twist, the opposite is often true. Because the world is full of people who suffer from fear of confrontation, giving good, direct, honest feedback in a professional way is often the best way to stand out as someone who can be trusted.
The next time you avoid a critical conversation because you are afraid or dislike confrontation, fight through it and give the feedback/tell the truth. Do it professionally and play to the recipient's vanity. Tell them you thought about avoiding the conversation, but wanted them to have all the information and an honest assessment. They deserve that, and even though the others won't break it down for them, you will. You're their agent...
Man up. Or woman up. Give the feedback.