Feedback is a gift

By Louise - January 7, 2019

With Christmas in the rearview mirror it’s a perfect time to think about the gifts you’ll be giving in 2019. If someone is important to you then they deserve a thoughtful gift. As do you.

Don’t give them a jumper, a pair of socks, or a chainstore voucher. Give them a gift that’s valuable, builds their self esteem  and is something they can learn from.  Feedback. 

Spend as much time on it as you would spend money on a gift. View time invested in feedback as an investment for the future.

It’s a gift that will keep on giving.

A gift that’s worth its weight in gold that gives equal value to both giver and receiver.  

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Adopt a posture of generosity

#feedbackisagift is my 2019 posture. My commitment. My routine. My challenge. 
The change I want to see in the world. 

Is it hard to be generous and give someone feedback? Personally, I don’t think so. Create the right conditions and feedback is useful, practical, kind, generous, thoughtful, encouraging, empowering, enlightening, energising.  

I’ve been sharing #feedbackisagift with 150 others (OK well not all 150, but many) at on an online podcasting course I’ve participated in recently. I don’t know them, they don’t know me. We don’t work together, instead we learn together. We’ve adopted a posture of generosity and give feedback to each other as we learn. Together is better – right?

Learning alone is painful. Learning alone is hard. Learning alone is just that – lonely.

We comment on the courage,  the forward steps people have taken and the good, the not so good, and the ‘here’s how you can make it better approach’.  We gain interaction, respect, momentum, friendships. Be interesting and be interested.   Simple – yes. Selfish – no. 

I’ve been passionate about this mindset shift for a long time because it encourages forward motion. It builds trust. It encourages continual improvement.  The work does not have to be perfect. It can always be improved. I can pretty much guarantee you will not die if it is not. 
Through feedback, you’ll just learn how to make it better. 

10 Steps to success.
Note: I didn’t say it was easy, I said it was simple. 

  1. Make a mindset shift – feedback is a gift. 
  2. Be genuine and authentic about your intent.  
  3. Put your listening ears on.
  4. Lower your defensive radar. 
  5. Build trust, and seek feedback on your own work. 
  6. Ask in a proactive and positive posture. “Hey I’ve just created a … , and I’d value your comments. Can you tell me what you like (or not), and how I can improve it? ” 
  7. Thank people for their generosity. (Time, words, framing, ideas). 
  8. Rinse and repeat. 
  9. Notice and comment.  A “well done, good job, like this, great initiative”.    
  10. Suggest improvements with positive intent. “It would be even better if,… you could change … to …., have you considered…? ”    


Responsibility and Loneliness

As TetraMap facilitators our responsibility at each and every workshop is to raise individual and team esteem.  Feedback helps to do just that. Forget the praise sandwich and introduce a posture of generosity. Offer a contribution, framed with care, and you’ve made a big or small difference. You’ll see it differently and that is hugely valuable.

Humans are wired for each other. In this context robots just won’t cut it. Not yet anyway.  

Christmas in particular can be a very lonely time for some, and for others the workplace is just as lonely all year round. You can change that. Feedback creates inclusion.  

Finally, here’s a thoughtful well-written (as always) blog from engineering firm Aurecon.
Can engineers undo loneliness?    

#Feedbackisagift, so be generous and leave a comment below. Thanks everyone!

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  • I’m with you 100%. Not only is feedback a gift, its effectiveness is underrated, especially when freely given, without the thought of a return. The one book that has influenced me greatly, giving feedback-wise, is the One Minute Manager (b/c 1-minute feedback is what the book is about).

    • The one minute manager. A gem of a little book that makes absolute sense. Thanks for the reminder Beat!

  • Great Blog Post Louise. I agree Feedback is a gift, constructive, helpful thoughtful feedback delivered in a kind manner is just the best ever! Thank you for all your feedback on my podcasting journey. Great blog post

    • Emmie, you also have been an outstanding contributor to our learning journey. Being kind, thoughtful and generous are qualities of inspiring leaders. People like you do things like this.

  • Thank you Louise, this is great. It is so good too extend our gratitude and appreciation to all feedback, whether the feedback is challenging or affirming, and in turn extend that to all that we experience in life.

    • Challenging and affirming, excellent. Thanks Andrew! What a gift to have your feedback. To know people have read and found value in a post you’ve created is humbling.

    • Thank you Robyn, my mantra for 2019 is : Who can I give and gain feedback to & from today in order to maintain forward momentum and improve things.

    • Thanks Abbas, I think to shift culture this mindset is essential. Please let me know if you use any of the tips!

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Master TetraMap Facilitator Robyn Walshe often comes forward with feedback on how we can improve in her Fire/Earth way. “Don’t puff up. Don’t shrink down. Just stand tall and make space for others to belong.”