Feedback, Leadership, Performance Development, Human Resources, People,

Why your Feedback model needs an upgrade

Somewhere in the world today there’s someone dreading their next feedback conversation. And it’s not just employees who feel this way. There are managers everywhere who dread going into a feedback conversation, and as a result it’s often avoided or relegated to a formal quarterly check in.
The culture of feedback in most organisations is broken, despite over 40 years of training for managers on effective employee performance & development.

When handled poorly, feedback either does nothing or worse, makes the employee feel disengaged & demotivated.

Despite what you may think, the problem isn’t that we dislike feedback, it’s that we don’t like it when it comes unsolicited from other people. Most people actually seek out feedback as it’s critical to their motivation & engagement. We all want to know we are doing a good job and our work is valued.
We also respond better when the focus of the feedback is on the areas we could improve upon, not on what’s wrong, or what we are not doing well. Of course there are times when it can be helpful to outline mistakes, yet without knowing what we need to do more of we can focus too much on what not to do.

So what can we do about it?

Make it a regular activity, not just something that’s relegated to quarterly check ins. Frequent feedback on what’s working and what’s not needs to become the norm so people can adapt quickly to improve.

Implement a cross-functional and external feedback model rather than a Manager – Employee model. People need to learn & grow quickly, so regular feedback from a variety of sources is important. This also helps to alleviate both conscious & unconscious bias.

Move from a culture of GIVING feedback to ASKING for feedback. This is the most important change you can make.

Why is asking for feedback rather than giving feedback so important?

  • Both sides feel less threatened
  • It creates more receptivity in the brain of the person seeking feedback (so they are more likely to make the change)
  • Lifts performance & engagement & gives the asker tools they can implement immediately, increasing their desire to grow & develop
  • Allows the asker to improve quickly & therefore better respond to the demands of their role
  • When given straight after an event the feedback is more accurate (for example after a client presentation)
  • The asker takes an active rather than passive role in their performance & development
  • The asker gets a more diverse perspective and is able to recognise patterns when feedback comes from multiple sources


How to ask for & share feedback:


– what to build on
– where to refocus


– Mitigate unconscious bias in the feedback giver


– Get feedback close to the source
– Make it a habit

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