When Should I Offer Feedback?

By Kelly Ross, MS, PCC. Feedback can be powerful. It can also be hard to deliver. As leaders we have a responsibility to notice, and then give feedback that is powerful and helpful to help those we lead become their best. Three questions may help you get started. 

Is it true?
Is it necessary?
Is it kind?

These questions offer some helpful reflection before offering feedback to a colleague, a direct report, or boss.  

Is it True?

Of course the feedback must be true, and I must do my diligence to ensure that I have investigated if there are other perspectives to consider. Speaking from my own point of view is the most powerful (i.e., I observed you doing X, versus others said you did X). 

Is it Necessary?

Not all feedback is necessary to share, and part of my discernment is to consider if this feedback is necessary for this person to do their work well or better. This question might help me eliminate things which I like done in a certain way, yet the way the other person is doing the same thing may not be wrong. I also need to consider my relationship with the other person to help me answer if the feedback is necessary.

Is it Kind?

This adds an important lens into how I frame feedback. Why am I offering this feedback? It is coming from the place of offering development to make the other person the best they can be? 

How might your feedback messages change if you were to ask yourself these questions before you delivered feedback?  

An Effective Tool for Development

I believe feedback can be a tremendously powerful development tool. I am a better leader and human for the feedback my leaders and mentors have offered to me.  Collecting and giving effective feedback is a passion of mine, and I am proud to have co-authored Fearless Feedback: A Guide for Coaching Leaders to See Themselves More Clearly and Galvanize Growth. Leaders, read the book for tips about bringing emotional safety to the feedback you offer. Leadership Coaches, read the book for a framework for effectively collecting and delivering feedback as part of coaching engagements. More here: www.fearlessfeedbackguide.com 

For more about giving great feedback, and developing your leadership skills, schedule a consultation with Kelly.