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  • Kick Ass Zombie Hunter

Building a Better Tomorrow Through Feedback

A woman listening intently to another person.

We were training a group in Personality Dimensions the other day and got into a lively discussion around feedback. One of the participants started talking about the need to give constructive criticism to their staff to hold people accountable and build performance. There was an immediate reaction to this term ‘constructive criticism’. The consensus was simply that these two words don’t go together. How can criticism be constructive? Even if the criticism is coming from a ‘good spot’, criticism is still criticism.

Think about if you ever received constructive criticism. What was your reaction or response?

Did you say, “I really appreciate the criticism and will work hard at doing better and changing my behavior.”

Did you think, “This person must really respect me and wants the best for me?”

Or did you leave the conversation feeling hurt or angry and thinking, “What a jerk!”

Feedback is an important aspect of building stronger teams and individuals. Criticism is just about control and tearing people down.

Even the term constructive feedback needs to be challenged. When providing feedback, one must be in the right mindset to start. Are you providing feedback because you care about making the other person look good. That you want them to improve? That you see them as a productive member of your team? That you see them as part of your future?

If you are giving feedback when you are upset or angry, the intent or message of the feedback can be received in a harsher way – even if you didn’t intend it to be delivered that way. If you are giving feedback to hurt or control, then let’s call it what it is …. Criticism or even reprimand.

Feedback to reinforce good behavior, or feedback to change an unwanted behavior, should be considered supportive feedback. Either way the objective is to support the team member to feel good about the conversation, to create the willingness to make any change and to build integrity and respect into your own relationship with them.

When providing feedback think about the outcome you want. Ask yourself, what is the best approach to get you there?

Remember in the wise words of Maya Angelou

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

And isn’t the role of a leader to help people feel and be their best every single day?


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. Think of a time that you delivered feedback and it didn’t have the desired outcome. What happened? What did the person say and how did they react?

  2. Think of a time when you delivered feedback where it created a real positive response. What was said and how was it delivered?

  3. What can we do to help people continually feel their best, connected and motivated?


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