By: Natalie O'Laughlin on March 28th, 2013

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How to Give Feedback...Intentionally

Communication | Business Management & Strategy | Best Practices


At Helios, we often talk about 'building a culture of intention'. We coach our clients on being more intentional, we honor and award organizations who do (i.e. The Helios Apollo Awards), and we even wrote a book compiled of interviews we had with local leaders on how they build these 'cultures of intention'. We were delighted to read a blog post by our friends at Inspirion today that shed light on giving feedback intentionally. Here's CEO Misti Burmeister's advice:

“If your intention in giving someone feedback is to judge or criticize, you’ll fail to inspire a shift in their behavior.” — Misti Burmeister

For many leaders, feedback is simply not an easy thing to give. Some worry about inflating egos, while others fear destroying self-esteem. There are many great articles and books about giving feedback (heck, I’ve even written an e-book on the topic). One of the most popular feedback techniques is the “Sandwich Technique” – in which you sandwich criticism between two compliments.

Yet, despite all the information out there about how to give feedback in a productive way, many leaders still struggle with this important responsibility.

Why do so many people despise providing feedback? And why do so many fail to achieve their desired result – a positive change in behavior?

The answer lies in our intentions. If your intention is to judge or criticize, to be right, or to show them how stupid they are, you’ll fail to inspire a shift in their behavior. This is true regardless of which technique you use.

Before giving feedback, consider your intentions. Is your intention to help them reach their goals, or is it to help them make you look good? Regardless of your technique, your employees will see straight through inauthentic efforts.

So, before you provide feedback, ask yourself: Why is this feedback valuable to this person’s professional/personal growth? If it’s not, you might want to keep your thoughts to yourself.

Keeping it simple,

Misti Burmeister, best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across GenerationsHidden Heroes and Power Suck.