The Power of Feedback

Friday, March 1 2013


What comes to mind when you see or hear the word feedback? For many it is immediately a negative that infers criticism, a discussion about areas that are not good. However, feedback is just that: feedback. It should be about both strengths and areas for development. It is about sharing another’s perception of what is working well and what needs to be enhanced.

I have done many 360-feedback assessments and invariably individuals turn first to the areas for development section instead of focusing on identified strengths. If only I could wave a magic wand and have them focus on what is going well, both big and small, have them celebrate and leverage the skills that are already in place; then we would be able to focus coaching more on the future and less on the past.

Focus on the future means tapping into the strengths that individuals already possess, helping them to feel valued, and allowing them to use their skills in a productive way. When people feel good about what they have done, even in the light of identified areas for growth, they feel valued. Those who feel valued develop strong trusting relationships which contribute to good results, a strong sense of team, and a passion for success.

When you focus on the positives and build a strong relationship, it becomes easier for recipients to consider feedback about areas for development in an open and positive manner. According to Gallup Inc., we are six times more likely to be engaged when we use our strengths every day.

Celebrate successes often. Look for people doing something right every day. Engage individuals by providing feedback on their strengths. They will be much more productive and have a lot more fun. Show that you care by giving high quality feedback.