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Giving Feedback is Really for Everyone….But I’ve Been Focusing on Leaders–So Far

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

The vast majority of us are now working in a team—and not just one team. We’re usually part of multiple teams. With our peers or direct reports, in mixed-up teams with someone who’s above our level (but not our boss), in agile development teams, teams with contractors, suppliers, partners, customers, consultants, and in teams created for all kinds of other purposes. Goals that are aligned with our day-to-day jobs, goals that seem far-fetched and far-strung, process improvement goals, merger goals, customer service goals, and so much more.

Wanted: Feedback from Non-Bosses I often see people in teams who know far more about the topic than any bosses: People who are closer to the action, people who are technical experts, people who are the actual customers, and people with leadership skills but not in management roles. In order to get their work done, they need to give feedback to one another—no matter who’s reporting to whom. And I do see some of that going on, sometimes more effectively that people who are actual managers with direct reports.

So why am I not writing about this kind of non-boss feedback? I do passionately believe in the power of feedback for everyone at every level. And I see that not that high a percentage of human beings–at all levels–are good at it.

But I wanted to start with leaders—because it is expressly the job of leaders to develop people and I see how few are really doing it. So I identified leaders as primary the audience for my book The Feedback Imperative. I thought there would be huge leverage in getting leaders on board with feedback and seeing fast results.

And I still think this. But, now I am ready to talk more about feedback across—across levels, across organizations, across line of authority, and across geographies. Lately, I have been involved in some great conversations with people who want to get more effective at this broader kind of feedback. I welcome hearing from you about your questions, ideas, and experiences with feedback across. It is next on my agenda!

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