Feedback vs Advice — Tips on giving effective feedback

Most people don’t give feedback, they give unsolicited advice

Ant Murphy

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Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

I would say that we are in a feedback crisis. It’s been a hot topic over the past 2 years for me whist trying to build a feedback culture.

We all know that feedback is important, we all want our culture to be welcoming of feedback but why haven’t more companies managed to nail it?

Over the past 2 years I’ve come to conclude that one of the root problems is the negative connotations — or baggage — that is associated with the word ‘feedback’.

More often that not feedback in organisations are only given at performance appraisals and or in ‘performance management’ situations and are poorly delivered quite often in the “bad news sandwich” style — where you start with a positive, get to the negative part you actually wanted to talk about and then finish on another positive. Please stop doing this!

Either way it’s not something we associate with positivity. It’s no wonder then that we see feedback as more criticism and a negative thing only.

It’s a common trap I see regularly where feedback is only seen as ‘constructive’ or performance focused. It’s almost like they have completely forgotten that feedback can be positive as well!

In fact, studies on high performing teams found that they share nearly six times more positive feedback than average teams — so if anything it should be the other way around, we should focus on giving positive feedback more than constructive.

High-performing teams share nearly six times more positive feedback than average teams.

My hypothesis here is that it is no one’s fault that feedback has a bad wrap — how many of you can say that you’ve been taught properly how to give feedback? I know I wasn’t! My hypothesis then is that we simply have not been taught how to give or receive feedback properly.

And this is part of the problem. The more you expect managers and people to give feedback when they have not been taught properly, is just fuelling the fire. Which is why I’ve been spending a lot of my time recently coaching simply on…

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Ant Murphy

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