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Strategic and constructive feedback can improve performance and boost productivity, retention and trust in your organisation. But whether you want to start asking for more feedback or thinking about how to give better feedback, it all starts with building a feedback culture at your organisation. If you’d like to learn more about the importance of feedback for executives, please contact us at

How to give feedback

There’s no doubt that positive feedback is critical for learning development in a working environment. But telling your colleagues how to fix an issue is not necessarily the best approach.

Giving effective feedback is a function of how we learn. For example, focusing on your colleague’s shortcomings doesn’t help them learn from their mistakes (rather, it stalls it). Psychologically, critical feedback activates the fight-or-flight response, disinhibiting the likelihood that your message will be received as intended.

To give the best feedback possible, focus on outcomes. For instance, if you notice a colleague doing something that worked well for the business – take the time to acknowledge it. Help your team members learn and identify your vision of excellent performance.

How to ask for feedback

According to McKinsey, senior executives are less likely to receive both constructive feedback and strategic feedback. One way to curtail this finding is by asking more junior colleagues for feedback. Here are some other effective ways to ask for feedback.

If you want to be more effective at receiving feedback, then ask specific questions. Open-ended questions are unlikely to yield any constructive results. For instance, ask specific questions about how you can make meetings more effective? Or ask for specific feedback on what you can improve in your approach. Make it more relevant to your own situation by tailoring the questions to your own goals and behaviours.

If you find it difficult to hear criticism from your colleagues, there are several ways you can adjust your mindset. First, don’t take it personally. Giving and receiving feedback is a valuable part of being a leader.

Additionally, take this opportunity to improve your leadership skills. Take note of the suggestions and feedback you receive. Use it to become more self-aware. Increasing self-awareness can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses – further aiding your performance as a leader. More importantly, if you receive negative feedback, don’t hesitate to ask for time to fully digest it.

How to implement feedback culture at your organisation

In order to facilitate the giving and receiving of feedback, it’s important to set up a feedback culture at your workplace.

Build a robust feedback culture by making it clear to your colleagues that feedback is an essential component of an effective workforce. Here are several other steps you can take to encourage feedback amongst your employees and colleagues:

  • Reinforce the importance of giving and receiving feedback; start by regularly asking for specific feedback
  • Encourage informal meetings as an avenue to exchange feedback. Similarly, take note that not all employees or colleagues are comfortable communicating feedback in the same way. Some might prefer to provide written feedback, while others prefer verbal feedback sessions.
  • Demonstrate your commitment to feedback by listening, taking notes and thinking critically about the suggestions you give and receive. When you receive feedback, show you’re listening by acknowledging the suggestion with particular emphasis on affirmative verbal communication and body language

Ultimately, giving and receiving feedback is critical at the executive level for a variety of reasons. If you’re interested in building or improving an existing feedback culture at your organisation, please contact