We fight for feedback. Most of us want both positive and corrective
feedback. Positive feedback is reinforcing and encourages us; corrective
feedback points out areas of weakness so we can grow.
When I was younger, I solicited feedback, especially from my superiors.
But I assumed as I rose to more responsible leadership positions, I
would no longer desire or need feedback. I was wrong! I still want and
need feedback from my superiors, my peers, and my subordinates. Since
most individuals want to make a positive difference, they welcome valid
feedback that helps them do that. Here are three things to consider when
Give feedback often and consistently.
Reinforcing positive behavior produces more of it. And corrective
feedback helps subordinates meet your expectations in the future.
Don’t wait until appraisal time to give feedback.
Behavioral psychologists tell us the sooner feedback is given, the
better it reinforces desired behavior or corrects the undesired
Don’t give feedback only to subordinates.
Give positive, honest feedback to your peers and your superiors.
Recently I congratulated my boss on a presentation. He thanked me and
said, “John, tell me anything you can think of that would have made it
better.” I gave him a couple of ideas and he thanked me again. Later he
sent me an e-mail, again thanking me. Notice two things: He wanted
feedback, and by sincerely thanking me, he ensured I would likely give
him honest feedback again.
Satisfy people’s desire for feedback. Give it honestly and give it
often. Next month I will discuss how to solicit and receive feedback