18 MARCH 2022


All of us want to get better at we do. We want the best outcomes be it at work or at home. If we love playing the piano, we would love to have top grades from a reputed music college. If we want to excel in cooking, we wish that all our family members or customers are satisfied. If we want to be noticed at work in a particular project, we seek results of project delivery - whether it was on time and within budget.

All of this and more accounts for a great feedback mechanism, where we seek feedback in some form - either by reviews, ratings or testimonies. In short, feedback can help us grow as professionals as well as help us in becoming successful individuals as well.

Over the years, I have seen that in this quick gratifying world, we miss out either on seeking feedback, overlooking it if it is given or perhaps don't take it in a way that could make our life more meaningful. Instead, it seems that many times, feedback causes more confusion than help to the recipient of such feedback.

To help individuals with not just coping with feedback but instead benefitting from the same, I would like to share my practical experiences on two areas of 'Giving Feedback' and 'Receiving Feedback'.

Giving Feedback:

  1. Be generous in our comments. We share feedback only to make someone better at what they are doing or to compliment them for excelling in their behaviour, actions or achievements. So, by not being stingy in sharing feedback the recipient will be thoroughly benefitted.
  2. Be genuine and share feedback in their interest and not ours. Quite often at workplaces, we also find team members who share their feedback only to show the recipient that they genuinely interested in their well-being, but the truth would be that they are doing it only to lay a foundation for a return favour. Feedback shouldn't have any strings attached. Being unselfish with feedback - constructive or praise can only make work environments fun with great camaraderie.
  3. Be forthcoming, candid and encouraging. When people receive feedback, they use it as a great foundation to further their performances. They use it as stepping stones to bigger successes. Sometimes, we are scared to share accurate feedback as it may hurt the other. I am reminded of the story of The Emperor's New Clothes, where no one wanted to bell the cat. If we genuinely care for the person receiving our feedback, then it becomes our obligation to say it as it is. At times my wife tells me that I can better my sense of dressing. That may get me thinking for a while, but I do appreciate her honest feedback, before I probably get adverse feedback from the world.
  4. Don’t give it to flatter or for personal gains. That may not help you in the long run. It’s your credibility. We see this when someone is desperate to impress upon the other. It could be the boss at work, a public figure or perhaps a prominent personality. In such cases the sole intention is to flatter the other, blind them by unwarranted praises and look forward to them returning them a favour.
  5. Don’t just criticize, but make it developmental. Feedback often is binary, either a carrot or a stick. But in the modern world, not many are ready for criticism. Hence a good practice would be to make the feedback interesting where even if it's not a compliment, the recipient can benefit from our feedback as it could be a great source of learning for their next performance.

Feedback received

  1. Treat it as a gift. Accept and value it as being priceless.
  2. Be graceful about it. Listen to understand and not to respond.
  3. Look at it as feedback for our personal growth and accept it as though you paid for it.
  4. We need to avoid being too critical of ourselves on the feedback we receive.
  5. Be able to judge where that feedback is coming from and the other’s intent.
  6. Avoiding snapping back or try to defend constructive feedback.
  7. Look at the feedback from the perspective of the other and not yours. We could be biased as it pertains to ourselves.

Feedback best practices

  1. Give feedback in the same way as you like to receive.
  2. Provide feedback immediately after the event and to the point.
  3. Be open and not show that there will be consequences if someone gives you their feedback.
  4. Look at it as it is for our own good. It’s a gift. Handle it with love and care.
  5. Encourage change from within if feedback warrants the same.
  6. Specific feedback builds great relationships through trust and understanding.
  7. Feedback allows you to grow in areas you cannot see, whereby self-worth could be further enhanced.
  8. Lastly, whether feedback is sought by you or it's shared with you unsolicited, we should ensure you thank them and if needed also share the post-feedback results or changes made by you.

Whether be it in my motivational talks, job at work, helping with chores at home or even if it were something simple as to wearing of a specific outfit, I have received solicited and unsolicited feedback which I am grateful to many people around me - my wife, children and well-wishers.

I've realized over the years that feedback is one of the most under-valued investments in our life. On hind-sight, I would imagine that if feedback had a tangible price tag on it, people would take it more seriously.