How To Be Great At Giving Feedback

By on June 26, 2013

Giving and receiving feedback is a fundamental way we communicate with each other. Whether it’s between colleagues, leadership and teams, parent and child, spouses, or neighbors, the give and take of feedback is an essential way that we share our needs and ideas with one another.

We’ve all been at the receiving end of good feedback – and not such good feedback.  And many of us know that when the message is delivered badly, any value in the message itself is often lost.

What, then, can each of us do to create a great outcome when it’s time to “feed” our thoughts “back” to another person?

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1.  Our first step is to step back. Ask: Do I want to win the point or win the relationship? This sets the stage for what follows.

2.  We ask for permission to speak and frame it positively. The positive frame conveys that we are interested in the other’s wellbeing and a good outcome for discussion, not simply a negative review with a dead end. This can be done as simply as saying: I’d like to speak with you about Issue X.  I think there are good things that can come out of this and I want to find a time that works for you.

3.  We present both positives as well as negatives about the situation. This reflects a well-known reality of the human condition: none of us is perfect. Each person who makes a mistake is also able to do well. Acknowledging this helps the other person know that you are not out to make unrealistic demands on them.

4.  We listen well. After we present our take on the issue, we ask: What do you think?  Have I gotten this right? What are some pieces of this puzzle I may have overlooked? What is your perspective? This validates the other person’s point of view. When you listen well, you earn the right to be heard.

5.  We end with forward momentum. Rather than dwell on what has gone wrong, it’s important for us to empower the other person by looking at what can go right. The past, after all, is under lock and key. This can be asked as simply as: What is the next best step you feel you can make?  Do you want a different outcome? How would you achieve that?  This is a framework that gives the other person agency and ownership in making a change.  The fact that you are asking them what they can do adds the power of your belief in them to make that change.  Most people naturally want to rise to a positive expectation.

Today’s take home:  feedback is an opportunity for you to grow and empower someone else! With thought and preparation, it can be a great avenue for positive communication and a way to build stronger relationships.


Dr. Ann

Originally posted on Coaching with Dr. Ann.

About Dr. Ann

Dr. Ann is a Christian M.D., wife to a fantastic husband, and mom to a lively gang of three. At The Marriage Checklist Ann blogs about marriage, motherhood, and more! She helps women build better life balance and grow great marriages. Ann blogs on, and has been featured on, Fox news, and Good Morning America. She loves that every day we can choose to take our best steps forward – for God, for the people in our lives, and for ourselves. You can read more from Dr. Ann at

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How To Be Great At Giving Feedback