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Agreed! The idea of feedback is often scarier than it should be. Feedback both from the employee perspective and the employer perspective is a vital part of what builds a lasting relationship between the two parties. It shows that both sides value the other enough to communicate & improve.

Denise Green

Hi Steve,

I love this post! Brilliance! I love the way you're removed the caustic word "feedback" from the conversation and suggested some great open ended (non-terrifying) question starters that are likely to start a great dialogue where issues can get surfaced. As you know, I'm on a mission to change the way people have these conversations. Well intentioned managers have learned some bad habits when it comes to these conversations, and, as you've described, organizations have created artificial structures that replace meaningful conversations. I've put my workshop content into a few short videos and tools and hope you enjoy. http://brillianceinc.com/feedbackvideo/
Great day to you!

Chris Witt


I learned years ago (in the early seventies) to hate the word feedback. When someone asked, "Can I give you feedback?" I'd brace myself, knowing they were going to tell me in no uncertain terms how I had screwed up or -- worse -- how I was a screw-up. (Those were the days when being "brutally honest" was considered a virtue.)

I still don't like the word and I can't bring myself to use it. And yet, I'm always engaged in conversations, like the ones you propose, that explore what's being done, how it's working, what's not playing out as expected, and how things could be done differently. As you point out, the quality of the relationship and the level of trust as well as the type of questions make all the difference.


Feedback is a great, free tool to build something excelent (business, service, whatever). When people tell me that they're scared of feedback, I ask them if they want to build a great ego or a great product. A+ post!

Chris Channer (@ChrisChanner1)

Good post: I agree with Blogging4Jobs Feedback needs to come up as well as down the chain of command. The best, most accurate and impactive feedback I've ever had came from people that worked to me, not from managers.
I also belive people who deliver positive feedback regularly are better placed to deliver constructive feedback when the occassion calls for it.
Above all be consistent that way everyone knows where they stand.

Bhavin Gandhi

@Steve: Really nice blog about feedback. In my practice, my one-on-one's with my employees are the opportunities to start conversation about the feedback. Also, we use informal surveys at the end of the year to measure my performance.

Is there anything else that you might suggest to get valuable feedback?


Feedback is essential for professional & personal growth. Steve, you have a great point about making it an ongoing conversation. It will also give you much better work relationships and matters greatly in the long run.

Harris, Rothenberg International

Totally agree -- feedback is such a vital tool for growth and development, but only when used wisely. The best way to improve organizational and employee performance is by identifying issues and sharing constructive fixes. Great reminder post!

Office partitions

hi Steve, I think feedback is imperative for a company to grow... on so many levels. Whether it is providing feedback to a client or a business you were looking to do business with. Or whether it is with an employ in your company. Whether positive or Constructive (negative) feedback it can help make the company move forward!


Great way to help explain true purpose of feedback. Maybe it would be better to say "Feedback may be used as a term..." instead of "Feedback started as a term..." because the term predates rockets. Would be sad for someone to quote you making such a powerful point and have listener disregard because simple opening fact is incorrect.

Steve Roesler

Dear Training

Glad you liked the explanation. And, as I am always concerned about accuracy, it would be helpful if you would send along a citation using the term "feedback" that implies the same meaning prior to the space program. The reason I cited that was as a result of reading a scientific article that noted the first usage of "feedback" in the "how are we doing?" sense in the late 1940s. The article stood out in my mind because it discussed the contributions and co-opting of German scientists such as Werner von Braun and others. As a musician, I'm thinking it may be quite possible that experimentation with the first guitar amplifiers could also have prompted the term. It's used commonly in that context now; don't know what the players were calling it in the late 30s and early 40s.

Let's see where this leads. . .

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