Giving and receiving feedback

by She Will Shine on 28-07-2015 in The Journey, Small Business, Outsourcing, HR
Giving and receiving feedback

In business we navigate a fine line between pleasing our clients and standing true to our own values and quality standards. We can feel the need to over compromise to keep income coming in and relationships safe.

Giving feedback to clients, contractors or staff can be hard but it is also essential for quality, growth and your brand reputation. It can also play a vital role in improving and strengthening relationships.

Giving feedback or receiving it has two angles, positive feedback (praise) and constructive feedback. Let's quickly define both. Positive feedback is a chance for the receiver to feel encouraged to continue to do great things and boost their confidence. Constructive feedback is about the receiver understanding what they can do differently and up their results for the benefit of all.

Navigating feedback with love and grace IS an art especially in emotional situations but anyone can nail it using a few quick tips.

1. Feedback is a gift

You give a gift because you genuinely care about the person and the outcome. You never give a gift out of anger, fear, resentment or frustration. Giving feedback should work in the same way. Unless your feedback is coming from a positive intention step back, cool your jets and wait for a time when you can.

Receiving feedback is also like a gift. Words have carefully been chosen for you - acknowledge that this alone is a gift.

Gifts aren’t disregarded when they are given to us, we accept them and thank the person for effort and gesture.  Yes, behind the scenes we can assess if the gift is something we need or is of value, but we always receive the gift with an open heart.


2. If you have got something to say, say it ASAP

This way your feedback will be much more meaningful and the receiver will be more likely to recall the situation.

* Side note caution - Don’t give feedback when someone (you, or them) is clearly stressed or under the pump – They just simply won't have the headspace to listen and you risk it being interpreted in the wrong way.


3. Be Specific

Assume that people intend to do a good job. If they didn’t, it’s probably because they didn’t know how. For your feedback to have an impact you need to be specific so that they can keep doing it OR make the changes that you recommend.

Often I see courageous people open up and give feedback only to rush through the detail, waffle and try and “smooth things over” at the last minute.

Here’s an example of what I mean…

Feedback Giver: “Hey Jenny, thanks for that awesome design last week I really love everything that you do, I was kind of hoping that next time you could try and get it to me earlier. I mean, I know that you are busy and I totally understand if you can't, but I just thought that I would ask. Anyway, keep doing the great work”.

Jenny is left confused as the feedback was vague!

What if the conversation when like this?

Feedback Giver: "Hey Jenny, Thank you for sending the design through, I love how you kept it really simple and aligned it with my brand. I’ll be sending some more work your way soon. I know that we all have a lot on so in the future I will make sure that I put some clear timeframes in my brief so that we both know what is required to get the job done on time. If you can't meet them please let me know and we can re-assess. Have a great day."

You will notice above that I kept it simple by describing

  • The situation
  • What they did
  • What effect that had
  • What I would like her to do differently and what I wanted her to keep doing
  • And what that would mean to me

I have also given Jenny a chance to respond if required.


4. Receiving Praise

How often have you been given a compliment and respond with “Oh that’s just my job” or “Oh yeah I got it on sale”. Why do we feel the need to justify and play down our achievements? As the receiver of praise, practice saying “Thank you, what a lovely thing to say” (with a smile). This eludes grace and confidence and is also respectful of the gift giver.

Giving feedback is like a building a muscle – the more you do it, the stronger and more refined your skills will become.

Get practicing – I would love to hear about a difficult conversation that you have been putting off and how you used these steps to help.



About the author

Tania Morgan is a Leadership and Life Coach, Yoga Teacher and Author. She guides go getting professionals, entrepreneurs and people who want more out of life via her workshops, classes and 1:1 coaching services. Find out more about upcoming events and opportunities via or connect via Instagram.

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