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More on feedback……for appraisals


When running programmes on giving feedback one of the biggest problems I find is dealing with fear.  This is because most people I speak to have had such bad experiences from being given bad feedback they are afraid to give any themselves. I have long thought we should be running programmes on how to receive feedback rather than how to give it just so it is easier to give!

Everyone knows that badly given feedback creates defensiveness and confrontation and often focuses on what went wrong. This kind of feedback does not improve skills or knowledge and usually undermines self-confidence and self-esteem in the recipient. They may or may not respond in the heat of the moment but I have no doubt they will inwardly plot revenge. Some of the senior managers I meet today still carry the scars and the hatred gained from working unfortunately for bosses with no sensitivity or skill.
To give feedback effectively we need to be sure there is going to be something in it for the receiver. There is absolutely no benefit in giving feedback to someone who isn’t willing to listen. Good feedback creates trust and co-operation. It should focus on improvements, those which are possible and on those which are already achieved. Good feedback needs to be able to help someone to increase skill or knowledge as well as improving the receiver’s self-confidence in his or her own ability and potential.
The ideal is to create a climate of trust where people seek out feedback on their own performance and ask for help in finding new and different ways of working. This can be achieved by creating and agreeing a contractto openly discuss issues. Inviting the recipient to assess their own performance first before offering ongoing support leaves them feeling helped and their feelings acknowledged.    Benjamin Zander, the business guru and Boston Philharmonic conductor believes that if you treat everyone who comes to work for you as A grade they will respond to tuition as A graders do by expecting and requesting feedback. Why not try it and see. 
Quicklearn delivers workshops in all aspects of performance management more details at  We also offer coaching, training materials,  handbooks and support for organisations wishing to deliver their own inhouse training

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