Feedback to Inspire

I believe feedback can inspire, motivate, activate, encourage, enthuse, stir, drive, propel, energize, and awaken confidence and performance.  I have seen it occur.  However it can also…

Dampen, dull, decrease, lessen, lower, diminish, reduce, suppress, smother, asphyxiate, and choke confidence and performance.

My research and experience show that there are a number of factors that influence the outcome.  Here are a few of the big ones:

  1. The provider of the feedback: Why, how, when, and where are as important as the what.  Many times the feedback they provide says more about themselves than the person they are providing it too.
  2. The receiver:  History and experience with feedback play a specific role in how someone interprets feedback, as well as personality preferences.
  3. The relationship:  The relationship between the people involved plays a role.  People respond based on patterns.  If there is a relationship pattern it will be difficult to break and they will have to work at it.
  4. Organizational Culture:  Culture of the organization plays a significant role.  If the culture is based on fear and distrust it can be difficult to inspire.
  5. Diversity:  Cultural and generational differences impact how the message is received.  With all of the best intent, positive attitudes, skills, and technique sometimes we are just unaware of customs, style, and cultural backgrounds.

However, all of these issues can be worked through, improved or overcome and the provider plays the biggest role.  So providers of feedback…lets aspire to inspire!



3 thoughts on “Feedback to Inspire

  1. So do you mean feedback in the common negative inference here: “Constructive criticism?” Or do you mean all forms of feedback — praise, constructive criticism, etc.?

    Recent research showed employees desperately want both, but too few actually get either:

    “Only 11% of the organizations surveyed subscribe to the practice of providing ongoing performance feedback. 68% of them report that performance management in their organizations equates to a function that occurs only once or twice a year. … But evidence suggests that employees want — even crave — more feedback from their bosses, even if it is negative. … 67% say that they get too little positive feedback and 51% say that they get too little constructive criticism from their bosses.”

    How to do feedback (positive and negative) better?

    * Make it frequent, personal and (critically) in the moment
    * Make it specific, actionable and authentic (Blogging on this later in the week on my site)

    Research cited above linked to and expanded on here:

  2. Great stuff!! Very thorough and detailed. As an HR Manager here in North Carolina, I want to share something in the motivation category. This and (and many others, too) are filled with great ideas, thoughts, and philosophies. I wanted to be able to share these with the employees at my company.
    So when it’s time to recognize someone for their performance, I take one of these quotes from my (long) list, and instead of giving them a standard old plaque, I put the quote on a DYI – Design Your Inspiration from Successories. They are very handsomely framed and the photo choices are very good. It’s made employee recognition much more meaningful AND appreciated. The website is Thanks again. Anne

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