Episode #136 Give Better Feedback

One of the greatest gifts we can give to others is well-intentioned constructive feedback. This week, Dr. Michael Brown and Dan Costello instruct us on how to improve our communication skills where we live, work, and play.

Show Notes

One day we’re sitting at Thanksgiving and this little thing creates an explosion because it’s been buried and there are not rhythms and routines of feedback.
Dr. Michael Brown

Five Problems

  • It is often just as awkward and unsettling to give feedback as it is to receive feedback.
  • Fluffy feedback is mere flattery and does nothing to help others grow.
  • The concluding remark, “But overall you’re doing great” effectively negates any preceding constructive feedback and comes across as disingenuous.
  • When we ramble in an attempt to lighten a blow, we create confusion rather than clarity.
  • If we only ever compliment or encourage others during formal feedback sessions, we will be perceived as inauthentic.

Five Principles

  • Feedback is an essential element of open communication, so its benefit is not restricted to the workplace alone.
  • Spoken feedback creates much less conflict than unspoken frustrations.
  • The people around us will rarely invite our feedback, so it is our responsibility to initiate it ourselves.
  • Good intentions breed helpful feedback, and bad intentions breed harmful feedback.
  • The first step to giving better feedback is often as simple as giving more feedback.

Three Practices

  • Be very explicit when providing feedback rather than giving in to the temptation to drop subtle hints.
  • Acknowledge awkwardness or tension within minutes rather than within weeks or months (or years).
  • Before initiating feedback, pause to consider whether your intention is to help or to hurt.