SOMEONE once said: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” There is no doubt that giving people feedback is absolutely vital to ensure a motivated team that will deliver results.

One of the top three factors that motivate people at work is feedback.

The majority of people want to know how they are doing at work. They want to know when they are doing well and they want to know when they could be doing better.

There is a small minority of people who don’t want feedback at all. But let’s face it, you wouldn’t want these people on your team anyway.

While it is true that people don’t want to hear bad things about their job performance, how they react to such feedback depends on how it is delivered.

Like many people, I can be very sensitive to negative feedback. At the end of any seminar or workshop I have conducted, I will scan the feedback forms looking for any comment that dares to suggest that I haven’t done a good job.

It is easy for me to look at negative feedback on the forms and say: “You can’t please all the people all the time” or “Who cares?” or “What do they know anyway?”

I try to keep an open mind and think about what’s being said in the feedback. I ask myself: “Should I do something about it if one participant didn’t like something that I had said? Perhaps there were others who felt the same way but didn’t make any comment.”

All I want to do in my job is be the best that I can be, so it is important to listen to what my “customers” have to say.

Different strokes

Feedback affects people differently. There are those who love it or accept it, but some just hate it. I’m sure you have team members who always want to know “how they’re doing”.

They approach you and discuss what they are doing. “Is this okay, boss, am I doing this right?” They are constantly looking for reassurance on whether they are doing the right thing.

Then, you may have others who never approach you and are most uncomfortable in your presence, whether or not you are giving them good or bad news.

And how about you? Where do you stand on the issue of feedback?

You might be the kind of person who is comfortable with lots of feedback or maybe you prefer it in much smaller doses.

Most importantly, the way you feel about receiving feedback can affect the way you give it to your team.

A manager who is receptive to feedback is usually happy to offer it to his team members because he believes that his team feels the same as he does.

Conversely, a manager who is less comfortable with feedback tends to believe that his team feels the same way. This is often the biggest danger because many managers do not receive feedback from their staff and subconsciously feel: “Why should I give feedback to my guys when I don’t get it?”

Whether you receive feedback or not, or whether you feel uncomfortable giving it or not, you still need to do it for your people. Just be aware that you are dealing with different individuals who may react in different ways. Everyone should get feedback — how much is just a matter of degree.