Food for Thought: Feedback


Even when you are operating at the peak of your potential there will still be adjustments that have to be made so you can maximize your results.  You may also be underachieving and in need of some guidance or direction to push you to a higher level of performance.  This is where feedback comes into play.

Feedback is an assessment of your performance (both actions and results) that comes from a trusted source.  A coach or a mentor can be one of the best sources of feedback, but feedback can also come from customers, clients, competitors, family and friends.

Getting Feedback

Fighting for feedback is your responsibility.  It is easy to make assumptions about how you are doing and just coast through your day to day, but if you really want to improve you have to take the risk of asking your boss, peers, subordinates, friends and family members to tell you how things are going.  There are three basic questions you should be asking:

  • How am I doing?
  • What can I do better?
  • Do you need anything else from me?

On the surface, the hardest part of this process seems to be asking others to asses how you are doing.  The reality is that it is much harder to listen and adjust your own behaviors based on what people tell you.

Giving Feedback

The act of giving someone feedback on their performance can be just as challenging as asking for feedback.   If you are in a formal, or informal position that requires you to give someone feedback you may find yourself hesitating.  In my experience this hesitation tends to come from the fear of damaging the relationship you have with the person you are giving feedback to.  In most cases, if the feedback is honest and coming from a place of genuinely seeking to help then you will be strengthen the relationship and you should have nothing to worry about.

Tips for Giving Feedback

  • Make sure it is Constant
  • Keep it Consistent
  • Stay focused
  • Be direct
  • Honesty is key

Informal vs. Formal

Generally speaking, informal feedback should be the go to, but formal should not be neglected.  Informal feedback is typically conducted real time or near real time.  This can be as simple as telling someone they did a great job on an assignment, or correcting an error on the spot. Formal feedback is characterized by documenting or generating an official record of the issue and the expected correction.  Formal feedback can also be an award or other recognition for a job well done.

Do you have any tricks for giving or receiving feedback?  Come on over to our closed facebook discussion group to share your thoughts and join in the discussion.  Or you can email me directly at  If you are interested in further reading check out other Food for Thought articles and learn all about the Archetypes of Skill.  You can also sign up to receive The Friday Huddle, a short weekly email from me that gives you the tips, insights, and musings that have gotten me through the week.

Live Skillfully!


Leave a Reply