I So Don’t Like Feedback
By Cheri Torres
People are often hesitant to both give and receive feedback because it is typically critical. If we are the judge or critic, we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings—so we withhold information that could help them. If we are the recipient, we don’t want to feel criticized or wrong—so we don’t seek out feedback and lose valuable information that could help us. So, what to do?
Give feedforward instead. Feedforward focuses on two things: (1) providing feedback about strengths—what we like about something; and (2) suggestions for making it even better—ideas for improvement. It’s easier to give feedforward, because you are acknowledging strengths and simply making suggestions for improvement. It’s easier to ask for and receive feedforward, because some of your work or efforts are affirmed and you receive valuable input about how to make things even stronger or better.
If you need to have a conversation where you talk about critical information, create a positive frame for the interaction. What is your intent for the conversation? What’s the outcome you are hoping for? For example: if the person is late for meetings or deadlines, the positive outcome might be a team that can trust and depend upon one another, which includes meeting deadlines and being on time.
When you turn your feedback into feedforward and conversations worth having, you discover that you enjoy giving feedback and that seeking feedback actually enlivens you. There is nothing like having people support you in being the best you can be. So be open—ask for feedforward!
About Cheri Torres:
Cheri Torres, Ph.D. brings the practice of Appreciative Inquiry, design thinking, and an ecological worldview to communities and organizations striving for sustainable growth. Her work facilitates learning, innovation, and dynamic interpersonal relationships capable of achieving remarkable outcomes. Cheri has worked with diverse communities across the globe, from public schools and community organizations to corporations and government entities, to elevate their strengths and broaden their capacity for collaboration and collective intelligence. She has trained thousands of trainers and teachers in the use and practice of Appreciative Inquiry and Experiential Learning, with a particular focus on leadership development, teamwork, creativity, and sustainable collaboration.
She has authored or co-authored numerous books and articles, the newest of which is Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement co-authored with Jackie Stavros.
husband + father + pilot + director of talent development + leadership coach + startup fan + reader of personal #development, company #culture & leadership books