We typically think of feedback as binary: either good or bad. “Hey, great job today!” or “please step into my office.”

Feedback is so much more. It’s my relationship to the world and the world’s relationship to me. These are the conversations that drive business growth. They drive people to get more out of their leaders, and leaders to get more out of their people.

I tend to think of improving my feedback by being more clear, more effective, and more often. As if more is the answer. I thought I needed to hone those — which I did. But it turns out I misled myself.

Not only do I need to learn how to give feedback, but I’ve got to learn from feedback that’s poorly delivered and off-base. Feedback is necessary, though it can be some of the most painful experiences. Instead of sidelining those times, could it be best to understand the pain to get to the learning that much faster?

Getting back to binary feedback. It’s not simply good or bad. I’ve been trying to solve for the wrong question.

There’s Appreciation, Coaching, and Evaluation — I’d been focusing on evaluation (tell me where I stand: whether good or bad). But I’d forgot about appreciating others, not to mention coaching. Both critical and necessary functions of feedback.

I was challenged with regard to feedback: become better at receiving it, and then I will earn the privilege of being heard. Start with two questions:

  1. “What’s one thing in particular that I run this team or a meeting really well?”
  2. “What’s one thing you see me doing — or failing to do — that’s getting in the way?”

To avoid only focusing on the negative and remembering I do some good, keep the first question. No need to completely eradicate everything I do if there is something good to be retained — rather than purged. But it’s all to grow to be a better leader. Modeling feedback.

Originally published at

Published by Jeff Beaumont

I love helping companies scale and grow their organizations to delight customers and employees, enabling healthy teams, fast growth, and fewer headaches. Scaling quickly is wrought with potholes and plot twists. When you’re running a company, losing customers, and employees are on their way out, and don’t have your systems running smoothly, then you’ll be at your wits' end. I've been there and hate it.

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