How to Give and Receive Feedback Effectively to Gain Fresh Ideas

The gift of feedback - how to give and receive feedback effectively to gain fresh ideas

Effective learning for performance improvement requires having clear goals, a desire to achieve those goals and a feedback system to review the performance of those goals.

Unfortunately, feedback is a gift that many of us don’t know how to unwrap. Giving feedback is critical for employee performance. However, it is something leaders often delay or avoid because of the uncomfortable nature of the experience. If delivered correctly, with respect and compassion, it will create change and help to deliver the desired outcomes of the business.

Feedback is crucial for learning and improvement, it increases motivation and performance, it breaks bad workplace habits and reinforces positive behaviour. It allows us to break out of the repetitive work routines and learn new ways of doing things.

Giving Constructive Feedback as a Leader

Constructive feedback requires effective communication. In many cases, feedback is delivered poorly. It can be too vague, too infrequent, or too subjective, and the receiver can then become defensive and threatened. This tends to discourage a feedback culture, limiting opportunities for growth and development throughout the workplace.

Harsh or consistently negative feedback can often set off a fight or flight response in the receiver which clouds their ability to learn and inhibits their motivation. Telling someone how to fix a problem rarely works. Asking questions and coaching them through it will leave them with longer term improvement.

In a Gallup study, researchers found teams perform 8.9% more profitably, and with 12.5% greater productivity when their managers are provided with feedback on their strengths. – Gallup

Top tips for giving feedback

Be clear and specific – don’t confuse people by rambling. Tell them exactly what needs to improve, choose your words deliberately and avoid judgment.

Be timely and frequent – don’t wait days or weeks to pass on feedback for something critical. The sooner you address it, the better. Feedback should also be frequent so problems don’t get out of hand, and then followed up.

Give actionable advice – help them set goals and make plans to take the necessary steps to improve.

Receiving Feedback As a Leader

Leaders don’t always receive feedback on their ideas or performance. Understandably, as no one wants to upset their boss. As the leader, knowing how others perceive you is incredibly valuable. It’s your responsibility as the leader to foster a culture of feedback, and to learn and grow from feedback received.

How can you do this?

Instead of becoming disgruntled or reactive when receiving feedback that you do not like or do not agree with, show appreciation and gratitude. When employees feel they are in a psychologically safe and trustworthy environment, they are more likely to give honest feedback.

Be curious through asking lots of open ended questions, and listen attentively to their answers. This reinforces trust and builds relationships. Showing vulnerability also helps, by acknowledging your weaknesses and being willing to learn and change.

When you receive new data, reflect on it and translate it into action. Receiving feedback and not doing anything with it can destroy trust and demonstrates that you do not value their feedback. Pick some of the key points, and plan what steps you need to take to improve this behaviour. Then follow up, and share updates.

The gift of feedback - how to give and receive feedback effectively to gain fresh ideasTools for leaders to receive feedback

360 Degree Reviews

In order to increase performance and profitability, it is essential that leaders get feedback from those with whom they come into contact regularly. Employees, clients and stakeholders can be effective sources of insight that make the difference between leaders being extraordinary instead of just plain ordinary.

360 reviews help leaders understand how they are seen by those around them, in and out of the organisation. This helps them gain clarity on how the behaviour affects those at work and to understand where they need to focus time and effort on developing their leadership skills.

Peer to peer Roundtables

Social feedback is key to gain fresh ideas and new insights on your most pressing issues. Roundtables are a great tool to connect with other leaders who have no personal interest in your decisions, providing opportunities to share and learn in a safe environment. They allow you to think differently, with new perspectives to move your business forward.

Now that you understand how to deliver and receive feedback effectively, you will start to see why it is such a great gift to everyone in the workplace. Remember that it can take 2 months to build habits and see changes. Start today and you will soon be on your way to building a culture of feedback with happy, motivated and trusting team members.

At Strategy & Execution, we offer leadership development tools including 360 degree review, team workshops and executive roundtable series. We would love to hear from you if you would like to learn more.

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We have been providing organisations and their leaders with facilitation support and executive education focused on strategy development and strategy execution for more than 20 years. Using business models such as Scaling Up, Exponential Organizations, E-Myth Mastery, Outthinker etc, we support organisations seeking to create or refine excellent strategies and execute them quickly and effectively.

Our expertise is based on a mixture of wide business experience, effective tools as well as a great deal of consulting and executive education. Our approach to working with clients is as unique as our specialist focus. We always seek to challenge our clients’ thinking – but equally are unafraid to roll up our sleeves and help execute the ideas we help generate. Learn more about us here or view our upcoming workshops and events.

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