The Trouble With Feedback

Feedback is defined as information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc. which is used as a basis for improvement. It’s something we all say we want. It’s something that can be difficult to deliver. It’s something that sounds like a screeching and high pitched sound designed to burst eardrums when it is coming from a microphone. Perhaps that is symbolic of what it feels like to those who have difficulty receiving or giving it.

Where does your mind go when you receive affirmative feedback? For me, it makes me feel really good. I feel proud and accomplished. I like knowing I’ve delivered what was desired of me. It gives me confidence a boost. On the other hand, when receiving constructive feedback, I have to coach myself to listen, not defend, to process, not respond, and to reflect instead of reacting. I think I’ve improved a great deal at this over the years, but I am still working on it. Here’s how it usually plays out for most of us:

Feedback blog

In giving feedback, the challenge can be just as great for leaders. We’ve all been taught the sandwich method: 1. Say something positive., 2. Share the constructive feedback, 3. Finish with something positive. Better yet, we all realize when it’s happening to us. For years, I’ve been trying to develop a mindset that helps me give and receive feedback in a meaningful way. What I’ve developed is a tool, I call the CFT, Critical Feedback Tool! It focuses on acknowledging the feedback you receive by identifying the facts and behaviors that come from the critical conversation and then making plans to develop action steps, or changes in behavior to change the facts.


Something I believe effective leaders do exceptionally well is give AND receive critical feedback in meaningful ways. They are masterful experts at communicating with others in ways that help them improve their efforts and enhance their practices for the better.

I’d love to know if any of you think this tool could be useful in your leadership journey. I am continuing to use it in mine, and while practice does not make perfect, it certainly has helped me to make progress!

Until next time-be, you, be true, be a hope builder!



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