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October 2, 2017

Give Others Feedback and Be Open to Input – Courageous Communicator Quest Challenge 12


You’re doing great, keep it up! What did you learn from the last Challenge? It should have been very helpful for you. It’s a great exercise to practice on a regular basis. You will notice over time how much easier it gets with continual improvements in your communication that lead to meaningful, productive outcomes. 

This is the second to last Challenge. We can see the finish line; we’re on the home stretch. Continuing with the focus on Leading Through Honest Communication, giving feedback is something many leaders I’ve spoken with admit they’re failing at. Specific feedback should be a standard part of meetings and discussions to be effective. 

Challenge 12: Give Others Feedback and Be Open to Input 

The Myth 

Great leaders exist on one plane; employees on another. And the two never touch or overlap. 

The Truth 

Feedback is how we all move forward. An effective leader knows that he/she must give constructive feedback to employees to help people understand how they are doing—whether they are doing something well or they need to significantly improve. And just as important, strong leaders are open to feedback and input from others. It’s not about “my way or the highway” that's not respectfully authentic; instead, good leaders know that soliciting and listening to the opinions of employees can be a way to gain honest insights and new or valuable perspectives. 

The biggest barrier to giving feedback is often ourselves. It is difficult for most of us to offer criticism when we are looking someone in the eye. We’re concerned about how a person will react. However, postponing the conversation or not having it all doesn’t help anyone. 

The Courageous Communicator Challenge 

To minimize conflict, avoid emotionally charged language or judgements. State the facts as they are. Feedback is best given within a face-to-face context, as it is most likely to be well received and acted upon. Timing also matters – choose a time when you are in the right frame of mind and make sure they are, too. Ask them if they are open to hearing what you have to say. If not, schedule a follow-up, and don’t let them off the hook. 

This week’s challenge has two steps, focusing on providing daily coaching and feedback: 

Step 1: Recognize the behaviors and actions you want to see more of: I appreciate that you..., here’s what you did extremely well on this project…, here’s what I found incredibly helpful…” 

Step 2: Coach around alternative behaviors in a series of clear steps: 

  • I want to share feedback with you... 
  • The reason I want to share this feedback is… (share your motivation and intent, and show how your feedback will benefit him/her). 
  • Share your feedback: When you did________, this is the result (describe). 
  • How do you feel about what I just said? 
  • If it is necessary, provide alternative behaviors that are more effective. 
  • Then dialogue and discuss next steps. 

Most of us would be significantly more effective at work if we gave others feedback sooner and more regularly. It helps all of us work better. It helps us to recognize blind spots, know what to keep doing (and when to think about changing specific behaviors), and it helps build relationships with those who give us the gift of their advice. 

What opportunities do you see to give constructive feedback to someone on your team? 

—David Grossman

Get ready for next week, the FINAL challenge where we focus on Empowering Others and Helping Them Believe in Themselves. 

If you are just joining us in our Courageous Communicator Quest Challenge, take a moment to start from the beginning here.

Refer back to previous challenges here:

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