By Kevin Eikenberry

As a leader and coach, giving feedback is an important part of our job.  And while we know that, sometimes we find it hard to give feedback because it doesn’t seem like people accept it. While there are many tactics and specific approaches you can use to give feedback, they will be more important when we start by remembering the goal of feedback.

The goal of feedback – the reason we give it – is for people to apply it.

Think about it. You give feedback because you want someone to continue to do something they are doing well, or to change what they are doing so they can be more successful. 

What must happen before they will apply the feedback?

The Four Step Process 

There are three things that must happen before someone (anyone) will apply any feedback they receive.

  1. They must hear the feedback.  If they don’t hear it, either literally or because they immediately dismiss it, there is no chance for them to apply it.  If they haven’t heard it, it is as if it was never sent to them at all.
  2. They must understand the feedback.  Sometimes we hear feedback but don’t understand it – either the feedback itself or the importance of it. If they don’t understand the feedback they can’t apply it (or might misapply it).
  3. They must accept the feedback. Have you ever received feedback that you heard and understood, but didn’t agree with or didn’t like?  Until we accept the feedback as valid, true and useful, we will not apply it.

It is only when others have heard, understood, and accepted the feedback we have given them that we have any chance of reaching the goal of the feedback itself – which is for them to apply it.

That means when you are giving feedback do it in a way that improves the chances they will hear, understand, and accept it first.  When that is your guide, you will have a far better chance of reaching your goal for giving the feedback in the first place.

Want more ideas and tips for giving feedback? Here is a link to other posts on this site that you will find valuable.


Want to build your skills and be more confident and successful as a new or frontline leader?  Join us for The Virtually delivered Bud to Boss Workshop. In just two hours a week seven weeks you can learn new skills (including how to give feedback effectively) and apply them as you learn. You can learn more and register here. 



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