What is feedback?

I know you know what feedback is. But what does it mean?

When you give it does it represent failure? Bad news? Disappointment? Lack of ability? Judgement?

Too often people will hesitate or delay giving feedback. They have weird feelings about it. They want to spare people’s feelings. They want to avoid uncomfortable conversations.

But what if we thought of feedback as it really is: A gift?

Would you hold it back? Would you delay giving it?

The best gifts are TIMELY. Just try and be late with an anniversary gift. I don’t recommend it!

With feedback we have the opportunity to improve. Without it, we are in a vacuum. We don’t have the data we need to be better.

As a leader you need to make sure that feedback is seen positively and not as something to be avoided.

First, start by telling your team that feedback is encouraged from everyone. (This moves feedback into the realm of solicited feedback. Nobody likes unsolicited feedback. It’s why I hate it when some guy at the gym comes by to tell me I am doing squats wrong. –Dude, I don’t know you. Mind your own business!)

Second, make sure feedback also comes along with suggestions. Feedback tells me about the past. Suggestions to improve give me ideas about what to do in the future.

Lastly, as the leader, GO FIRST in asking for feedback and suggestions. Show people that courageous leaders want feedback and don’t shy away from it.

Remember, helping people improve means giving them good information. Be a generous giver!