Ask better questions


Ask these questions to help you get the feedback you want and need. Getting feedback about who we are and what we do is the surest way to improve. Most people would agree it’s necessary. A recent BetterUp survey found that 65% of employees want more feedback, even though they acknowledge it may be difficult to receive. Then again, the feedback we receive from managers and loved ones may not arrive in time or hit the mark — assuming it’s delivered at all. Asking for feedback can help. Instead of waiting for… Read More

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

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

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

Use feedforward to find your big idea

By looking at future possibilities instead of past failures, we move people and ideas forward. Feedforward is the new fuel of feedback. It’s more than just a play on words. It’s an entirely new playbook for how we think about people, performance and potential. It activates our most human desire for agency and achievement. And it focuses on a future people can still change, not a past they can’t. Shifting our perspective can make all the difference. When we start to focus on future possibilities instead of past failures, there is no… 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

Ten Commandments of Feedback

Feedback can be divine when we follow these rules. We have such a hard time giving and receiving feedback, you’d think it was a divine decree. Some prefer to dodge and disguise it. Others choose to defy and deny it. Depending on where you work, the feedback culture can range from cautiously polite to positively caustic — and that’s assuming people bother to share any sort of feedback at all. After years of helping organizations apply a feedback fix, I’ve found these ten rules to be particularly instructive. The list isn’t sacred… Read More

When Empathy Hurts Your Feedback


Empathy is the signature skill of good feedback. But it has a silent cost. Ask others whether they’d prefer to get feedback from someone who’s highly empathetic, and the answer would be a resounding yes. The ability to empathize with others is a critical leadership skill, especially when conversations turn tense. These individuals can anticipate how others are likely to think and feel, are well-equipped to express genuine care and compassion, and find ways to communicate in a constructive manner. There’s just one problem: Empathy might be derailing your leadership effectiveness. The underside of… Read More