Author Profile Picture

Rod Webb

Glasstap Limited

Director and Co-Founder

Read more from Rod Webb

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Why Feedback is the Greatest Gift you can Give


Amongst the very kind and generous feedback I received in response to last week’s blog was this from the wonderful Lottie Skuthe-Cook of Grey Panther Management:

“You really do have such an eloquence with words, it’s amazing. I love reading your stuff from a pure language point of view AND equally much from a content perspective.”

What made this extra special, to me, was the reference to my supposed ability to write eloquently. Whilst I liked the bit about content too, the former gave me a confidence boost at a time when a rekindled love for writing short stories had begun to wane. 

My love for writing stories began when I was about nine, fired by enthusiasm and positive feedback from one man, Mr Emery, the headmaster at my very small junior school. I’ve mentioned him before, because he has had an extraordinary impact on my life, given that I never saw him again after the age of ten. 

He carefully nurtured a passion for telling stories that continued right through to sixth form where, it seemed, stories ceased to play any part in my education. (Which is bizarre when you consider I was studying English Literature and History!)

Thereafter, the feedback I remember was focused on preparing for corporate life in a steady job. Dutifully, I went to work for a bank, and, barring several furtive attempts to begin novels, creative writing ceased to form any meaningful part of my life. That is, until I eventually got into training, and wrote the very first version of Murder at Glasstap Grange.

Although stories have played a big part in my work ever since, I have never considered myself a writer. My language skills, whatever they are, have been a vehicle, a tool of the trade, a methodology for learning. I’ve used stories because stories are powerful; because they can engage people on an emotional level and create learning experiences that are memorable, fun and impactful. 

But the seed of hope that I might one day be a writer, which Mr Emery planted in my brain all those years ago, has remained. 

I’ve realised in recent years that I’m not alone. There are a lot of people out there who enjoy writing, who might be very good writers, but who hide their most creative output away like a shady secret, afraid perhaps that it’ll be derided as the pretentious efforts of a narcissist. 

That’s why in the midst of the pandemic, Craig Worcester and I launched Pen48, an online writing group. It’s been heart-warming to see how a space filled with positive and constructive feedback has helped a group of about 12 active writers really develop their skills and perhaps more importantly, the confidence to share their writing.  

Their support and feedback has helped me too. I’ve even overcome my own embarrassment and added some recent stories to my new website; something I would never have considered doing even two years ago. 

Of course, this isn’t a blog about writing, or stories. It’s a reminder that perhaps the greatest gift we can give others, which costs nothing but time, is feedback.

And, whilst all constructive feedback is important, it’s a reminder too that people are often their own fiercest critics. 

The power of positive feedback like that from Mr Emery and Lottie comes from its ability to motivate, encourage and to feed the seeds of self-belief from which all personal growth comes. Those few words of meaningful praise, encouragement and support you give someone today could make an enormous difference.

p.s., A few years back, I tried to find Mr (Malcolm) Emery, who was headmaster at South Marston Church of England School in the period around 1978 to say thank you. I didn’t have any success, but I’d still love to make contact if possible because he may not be aware of the difference he has made to my life. 

And that’s another thing about feedback, good or bad; we may never know the impact it has had.

Author Profile Picture
Rod Webb

Director and Co-Founder

Read more from Rod Webb

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!