Would you like some feedback?


I love the power of feedback and how it helps drive performance improvement. I also think that it has a branding problem! Most people when I ask them about feedback tend to take a pretty negative and limited view. Typically, they will refer to overt feedback from a leader or stakeholder, perhaps some performance measures. I think it’s a shame and a huge missed opportunity.

I think that feedback is all around us, all of the time. It comes in many different forms and it has varying degrees of relevance and reliability. Those who are best at using the feedback available to them tend to be aware of more feedback and pay attention to the most important stuff – a bit like finding signal in noise.

I think that the key to effective feedback is how it is viewed – both by the giver and receiver. My experience is that both sides often view the whole process as a negative thing and either give or receive it poorly. What if we framed (useful) feedback like this…

Information that helps improve performance

That way, when I am giving feedback, I try to make sure that it is information that helps the other person do better next time around (and not just about me letting them know how they messed up). When I am receiving feedback, I can ask myself “how will this help me in the future”? I may then be able to break down some of the defensiveness that I feel when I am receiving negative feedback.

It’s hard work, but I think it’s one of the real keys to individuals and teams getting better.

A couple of questions for you to consider are:

  1. The last time that you gave feedback, was it focused on helping the person improve their performance?

  2. The last time that you received feedback, did I pay enough attention to how the information could help me improve?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and get your feedback!

P.S. The answers to those questions could be great feedback for you!


Love this focus on the outcome not on the actual deed of giving feedback. It IS all about helping the person do better next time, whether it is performance, or behaviours or something else. And, there are lots of “signals” available which you can use as feedback for example, people’s facial expressions or reactions to what you have said.

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