Don't Believe the Naysayers

If you have spent any time at all following me, you know that I am a huge believer in feedback. I tell people I coach that if you only learn 1 thing from me, it better be feedback. Yet, there are countless articles (even some books) out there that say feedback doesn't work.

Ignore them - they are 100% wrong.

Data shows that people not only want feedback, but they want it to be effective, helpful and regularly. In fact, remote employees seem to benefit the most from feedback.

So why do so many people say it doesn't work?

This happens because of two common misconceptions about feedback. These misconceptions occur not because of feedback, but because people don't know how to provide feedback.

First is that feedback is criticism. While true that negative feedback is part of the process, most managers forget that positive feedback should be given more often. If someone is an A player, they should get 9 pieces of positive feedback for every piece of negative feedback.

Second is that feedback is too often backward looking, meant to be a punishment. Feedback is always future focused. You are giving feedback (positive and negative) to help the person perform next time, not to comment on the last time. This even makes negative feedback more tolerable because you are helping someone perform better next time, not simply harping on what they did last time.

Feedback is the greatest tool a manager has - don't ever stop doing it.