top of page


When we hear "feedback," some might shrug with indifference, others wince with discomfort, but what if we saw it as an opportunity instead? Feedback is vital—it's the bridge that connects our current performance with our potential.

Whether it's from friends in our personal circles or managers in the workplace, feedback acts as a mirror, reflecting our professional growth areas that we often overlook. It's an underappreciated tool in the arsenal of a leader, an invisible force that propels teams and individuals from competence to excellence. And if we're to compare it to a meal, feedback would be the hearty, nutritious breakfast that champions feast on to start their day right.

For those who lead, like I do in my role as a coach, feedback isn't just helpful; it's non-negotiable. It addresses the crucial questions that form the backbone of leadership: "Where am I now?, "How am I doing?", and "Where should I go from here?". These questions are the stepping stones to achieving one's goals, and feedback helps answer them, paving the way forward with clarity and focus.

At the Statement Level, feedback might point out an issue like, "You didn't engage your audience," which is straightforward and identifies where things went awry. The Thinking Level goes deeper, prompting introspection with open-ended questions that can lead to self-discovery and personal development.

Then there are the Self-Leading and Relational Levels, where feedback becomes a dynamic dialogue, encouraging leaders to own their development journey and nurturing a positive connection between the feedback giver and the receiver.

The nuances of feedback have been explored by organizations like Zenger Folkman, whose research piercingly illuminates how vital the practice is for effective leadership. Their studies reveal an interesting paradox: while people generally gravitate towards giving and receiving positive feedback, many express a clear preference for constructive feedback, valuing the growth it spurs over the warmth of praise.

The challenge lies not just in what feedback is given, but in how it's delivered—the strategy and care with which it's presented can make or break its effectiveness. It's a delicate dance that encapsulates the essence of leadership, as it requires courage, empathy, and an unwavering commitment to improvement.

Feedback, in its optimal form, therefore, isn't just a box to be ticked or a rudimentary part of routine—it is an ongoing conversation that demands as much heart as it does honesty, a dialogue that fosters not only performance but potential. Those who welcome feedback with open arms, ready to ask for it and act on it, are the ones who will leap ahead. They know that feedback, when embraced, can be the very thing that sharpens their skills, shapes their path, and defines their legacy.

Leadership and feedback are inextricably linked—a leader without feedback is like a captain without a compass. So, the next time we think about feedback, let's remember its place at the table—it's not just a side dish, it's the main course that fuels our journey to greatness.

So how does one give effective feedback?

When it comes to giving feedback, it's important to approach it with thoughtfulness, clarity, and empathy. Here are some practical steps to effectively provide feedback:

Create a Constructive Environment:

Set the stage for a productive feedback session by creating a safe and constructive environment. Ensure privacy and choose a time when both you and the recipient are free from distractions. The goal is to foster an open and honest dialogue without causing defensiveness or discomfort.

Be Specific and Observational:

Offer feedback that is specific, objective, and based on observed behaviors or outcomes. Avoid vague or general statements. For example, instead of saying, "You didn't do a good job in the meeting," you can say, "During the meeting, I noticed that your presentation lacked clear data to support your points."

Focus on Actions, Not Personalities:

It's crucial to focus on the behaviors and actions rather than making it about the individual's personality or character. This helps to keep the feedback constructive and prevents it from feeling personal. For instance, say, "When you interrupted others in the meeting, it disrupted the flow of the discussion," instead of "You always interrupt and don't listen to others."

Use the "Sandwich" Approach:

Consider using the "sandwich" method, where you start with a positive statement or appreciation, then offer the constructive feedback, and conclude with another positive note. This can help balance the conversation and provide a more well-rounded perspective. Just make sure you are authentic in your approach or it comes off really bad.

Ensure Two-Way Communication:

Feedback should be a dialogue, not a monologue. Encourage the recipient to share their perspective and ask clarifying questions. This fosters mutual understanding and ownership of the feedback, leading to more meaningful outcomes.

Offer Developmental Suggestions:

Along with pointing out areas for improvement, provide specific and actionable suggestions for development. Instead of only highlighting the problem, also offer potential solutions and support in implementing them.

Follow Up and Encourage Growth:

After giving feedback, follow up with the individual to see how they are progressing and whether they need further assistance. Encourage a growth mindset and show your support for their development.

bottom of page