Feedback Bombs Without A Shared Goal
Updated: Nov 4
Feedback sometimes comes out of the blue and it feels like someone is giving you advice about something you’re not even trying to do. At best, the feedback is ineffective and at worst, it’s offensive:
1. A well-intended friend jumps in with “You ought to……”.
2. A co-worker makes “helpful suggestions” based on how they do their work.
3. A boss tries to help you with communication skills that don’t relate to any specific assignment.
In a work situation, this kind of feedback can feel intrusive and undermining. It can make you lose your confidence and cause you to distrust the other person. You are thinking “What the heck are they talking about? What are they not sharing about something I did wrong?”
But even strong feedback—if it’s glued to a goal—is often welcome and helpful:
1. We need this piece to complete the other six projects related to it, so can you focus on this exclusively over the next two days?
2. I notice you are handling several projects at once.
3. Since we’re trying to expand this account, I suggest setting up appointments with the decision makers rather than limiting it to email orders-We want to lower costs this quarter, so please hold off on those expenditures I saw in your budget request.
Put your feedback in context. Explain the win-win goal both of you are trying to achieve before you launch into the feedback advice. The response is way more likely to be positive and cooperative. You will even motivate people to help you do something great.