Why You Shouldn’t Sit On Feedback

Written by Dave Bailey

Filed under culture feedback psychology

Women sat in frustration over feedback

In my viral essay, ‘The Best Way to Develop Your Team Isn’t Feedback’, I make the case that if your goal is to help your people develop, then sharing your reactions to their work and performance isn’t enough.

But does this mean you should never give feedback to your team?

No, it doesn’t mean that. You should give feedback for two good reasons. The first — and most obvious — is that giving feedback can be beneficial for the recipient. It’s an essential part of the learning cycle (action -> feedback -> reflection -> better action) and without it, effective learning can’t happen.

The second, and less obvious, reason is that giving feedback can be hugely beneficial for the giver too.

Sitting on feedback can generate anxiety. You’ll often start to ruminate on the situation. You’ll fret over the possible fallout from giving the feedback and — even more importantly — whether the other person is just plain evil and/or incompetent.

Aside from destroying your productivity, your anxiety has side effects on the team. It shows up subtly in how you talk to people, how you avoid them, and in other non-verbal signals. People are left to guess what’s going on.

So, if you’ve been sitting on feedback, now is the time to share it — in the right way, of course.

Originally published Apr 20, 2021, last updated Jun 1, 2021

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