Give the gift of Feedforward this Christmas

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Nick Mackeson-Smith
Nick Mackeson-Smith
Chief Curiosity Officer, Founder and Director
December 8, 2020

Last year, I wrote about a moment I experienced in the early stages of my career - I’d only been in the workforce for a few years, and was given an opportunity to have some 1:1 time with the Head of HR for a global financial services firm.

I gave feedback to someone who desperately needed it - despite the fact that giving them that feedback would make me (and him) feel quite uncomfortable in the moment. The upshot of it all was in fact, that I was thanked, and we were both relieved. He avoided further embarrassment in far more important meetings than some 1:1 time with me, and I built a stronger, deeper relationship with someone because I cared about him.

Feedback is awesome. It’s a gift.

  • It should reinforce something done well
  • It should aim to give corrective guidance where things can be done better
  • It demonstrates that you care about someone else
  • It builds trust
  • It raises awareness
  • It develops your confidence to have a voice

So why feedforward?

Sadly, the feedback conversations I hear don’t always go so well when people aren’t open to either revisiting past performance or listening. It can be frustrating for the leader who is trying desperately to help, but the recipient of the feedback remains closed and guarded and even defensive. In the last week, I’ve heard (and I’m paraphrasing here!):

Leader: Here’s what you did. Here’s the impact. Here’s the impact. What do you have to say about that?

Team member: Here are all of my excuses and other people I’m going to blame

Leader: Don’t do it again. Instead do this.

The intention of giving feedback or feedforward must always be that you care about the other person; That you care about better outcomes for you, them, the organisation, and everyone around them.

Happy Christmas - give feedforward a go, and give someone a gift they’ll actually find valuable.

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

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December 8, 2020
December 8, 2020

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