How to flip your feedback

Changing the frame can change the effect. Getting negative feedback, especially from those we respect and trust, can quickly become an emotional train wreck that leaves us feeling hurt, helpless, and even a little bit hopeless. And when critical feedback is repeated over time, researchers have found that it can diminish our productivity, motivation and even our prospects for employment. The good news? We can flip the frame on negative feedback by changing the story. While we can’t control what happens to us, we can always change what happens next. Whether negative feedback causes us to become… Read More

Leadership is Listening


Listening is the key to great leadership. Here’s how you can tune in. Leaders do plenty of talking — delivering feedback, communicating goals, and managing change. But the best leaders are listeners. Good listening makes it possible to read people’s attitudes and motivations. It fosters more cooperative relationships. And it helps us detect the subtle, simmering issues that hum quietly in the background. Some leaders are naturally good listeners. When others speak, they eliminate surrounding noise and distractions. They’re fully engaged partners. For everyone else, there’s hope: Like most skills, listening is a learned behavior… Read More

Make a plan for difficult feedback

How do you make difficult feedback even harder? By not showing up prepared. Communicating effectively takes skill and savvy, but it also requires a plan of action — an intentional effort to understand what others need and how you intend to meet and manage those expectations. If you need to share difficult feedback and want your feedback message to land smoothly, you need a plan for success. Through my work helping leaders design and deliver feedback without fear, I’ve seen the positive effect of having a feedback “entry point,” a well-designed plan… Read More

Avoid feedback mind traps

To give better ratings, check your blind spots. It’s not easy to truly evaluate someone’s performance, especially in this age of hyperconnected and decentralized work. When work is happening under many roofs, not one, how can we accurately assign ratings? Who gets credit for the product or prototype that emerges from cross-functional collaboration? And with so many companies modifying their performance management practices (and even dropping them altogether), assigning ratings to work has become a head-scratching experience. But what if the biggest barrier to giving a meaningful measure of work…is the person giving… Read More

Turn Feedback Into a Partnership

Taking a partnership approach helps both sides reach their destination. If it seems like feedback is one-sided, that’s probably because it is. Traditional feedback operates with a sense of hierarchy. The giver holds the power and the position. He or she spends most of the time talking and tuning. The process feels more like “tell and sell” than “listen and learn.” At its core, this type of feedback sparks fear, not joy. In today’s post-pandemic workplace, this approach is no longer viable. Employees work with less visibility and greater flexibility than before…. Read More

A Better You (Part 3)


Four podcasts to help you turn downtime into primetime for personal growth. This is the final installment of A Better You, a special summer series featuring popular podcasts from I Wish They Knew, a show where leaders share big ideas that deserve more attention in about the time it takes to enjoy a cup of coffee. (Or the amount of time they wish they had to enjoy it!) The first edition featured great insights on discovering our hidden influence, developing a plan for productivity, growing sideways in our careers and finding that… Read More

For better feedback, be a mirror holder

Try to enlarge someone else’s view, rather than your own. Getting others to accept our feedback can be challenging, especially when we have tough news to share. Deep inside the human mind, negative feedback can cause others to become defensive, angry, and self-conscious. It can weaken their overall effectiveness at work. And it can even drive them to seek out others who affirm, rather than challenge, their positive self-view. Throw in a host of delivery problems – lack of frequency, rater bias, and high-stakes settings – and it’s no wonder why managers either dodge feedback altogether… Read More

A Better You (Part 2)


Four podcasts to help you lead and live with purpose. It’s amazing how far we can go when life stands still. Last week’s post kicked off a month-long series on becoming “A Better You.” Featuring four popular episodes from my podcast I Wish They Knew, the round-up offered great insights on discovering our hidden influence, developing a plan for productivity, growing sideways in our careers and finding that missing spark of motivation. Summertime is the perfect time for rethinking and reflecting. The stillness of summer provides just the right amount of time and space… Read More

A Better You (Part 1)


Use downtime as primetime to get better. These four conversations can help. For many people, August is quiet month. Work feels a bit more relaxed. School is out for most kids. Summer trips still beckon. But this downtime is the perfect time for reflection and rethinking: What could I be doing better? Better habits. Better routines. Better relationships. Better goals. A better you. Two summers ago, I did what everybody else seemed to be doing and launched a podcast, I Wish They Knew. The show focuses on big ideas that deserve more… Read More

Creativity thrives with feedback

Dead-end feedback shuts down creativity. This approach can change that. Feedback is the fuel of personal growth and development, but it’s also a critical driver of creativity. Anyone who does creative work knows this. At the same time, giving feedback about the creative process can have a chilling effect on how ideas are conceived and expressed. Judging someone’s creative expression is a delicate act that may end up shutting ideas and creative energy down. Creativity isn’t easy Pixar Studios knows this challenge better than most. Over the years, it has collected more… Read More