Make Your Feedback Matter

Kimberly N. Alleyne

Photo by Giulia Forsythe
Photo by Giulia Forsythe


If you’re in a leadership position, it’s a must that you master delivery of feedback to your team mates. Otherwise, you’re wasting their time — and yours. While feedback is expected, it is not helpful if it is not handled with care. Here are a few tips to make you feedback matter.

1. Celebrate great ideas and significant achievements privately and publicly. We reinforce behavior by reinforcement. So if an employee knocked it out of the park Derek Jeter style (Gonna miss you, Captain), broadcast it. When you brag about a job well-done, the chances for a repeat performance will shoot up!

Feedback Lightbulb

2. Give details and, if possible, examples. Vague commentary that is laced with anger, irritation or displeasure is not only ineffective, it just doesn’t serve anyone’s interests. Statements such as “I don’t like it” or “I didn’t get that” are unproductive and don’t advance anything. You can expect someone to improve in a weak area if you cannot articulate the problem. As much as possible, cite examples of the preferred outcome; and explain why something didn’t work.

3. Make feedback timely. Firing off a load of criticisms about a campaign that lacked luster months or even a year after the fact doesn’t make much sense, and it’s also unfair. Give feedback close enough to the incident/behavior/situation so that the individual who is receiving the feedback can actually remember what took place, absorb what went wrong and why, and implement improvements.

Photo illustration by Steve Ransom
Photo illustration by Steve Ransom

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